Morocco Holds Parliamentary Elections

Posted November 24th, 2011 at 8:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Moroccans go to the polls Friday to choose the country's new parliament, as the monarchy pursues democratic reforms designed to head off “Arab Spring”-style protests.

The elections, seen as a test to the reforms, were expected in late 2012, but Morocco's King Mohammed called for a prompt vote so the country can create a new government.

Some of Morocco's political parties had argued that more time was needed to prepare for the poll.

Earlier this year, Moroccans overwhelming voted to adopt constitutional reforms that would curb the king's powers. The king proposed the constitutional changes in response to the country's so-called February 20 movement that has been holding regular protests to demand a parliamentary monarchy in the kingdom.

But critics say the new constitution still keeps King Mohammed firmly in power by allowing him to choose the prime minister from the winning party, and by letting him oversee the country's religious matters, security apparatus and judiciary.