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Islamists claim win in Morocco polls

world Updated: Nov 27, 2011 00:53 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times
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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.