Morocco's moderate Islamist party, the PJD, claimed victory in a widely watched, Arab Spring-inspired national election, as initial results showed it ahead of rivals. Though religion-based, the Islamists say they have a progressive agenda and vow not to be overly conservative.
Official results are still awaited and Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi's-right Independence party and the Coalition for Democracy, an eight-party pro-monarchy bloc, could throw up unexpected surprises.
Responding to Arab Spring protests in July, Morocco's king Mohammed VI ceded some of his royal powers to Parliament under a reformed constitution. With a remarkably open society and commitment to reforms, Morocco offers a model for many Arab nations where dictators are ruthlessly crushing rebellions, analysts say.
The Islamists' performance in Morocco, after Tunisia, show that democracy-embracing Arab masses prefer the Islamists to deliver the goods. Many expect the PJD to be a front-runner mainly because of its anti-corruption crusade.