Rabat, Sep 8 (EFE).- Voters in Morocco headed to the polls Wednesday to choose new members of Parliament, and municipal and regional councils, the first triple election in the North African nation’s history.
Polling stations opened at 8.00 am (7.00 UTC) for the 18 million people registered in the electoral roll in a vote that is set to decide the fate of the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), in power since 2011.
The elections, which could hand the reins of government in the kingdom to a new administration, come amid new amendments in the allocation of parliamentary seats and a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
There are some 6,815 names on the ballot for 395 seats in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Parliament.
In the regional vote, 9,892 candidates are running for 678 council positions in the country’s 12 regions while the municipal elections have 157,569 candidates.
The outcome of the elections is tough to predict given that there is no public polling on the run-up to the ballot, a practice that has been banned by the interior ministry since 2016 and was ratified as part of law reform in March this year.
The reform, designed to clip the wings of the powerful PJD, also got rid of the 3% support benchmark for parties to enter Parliament.
It also sought to boost the number of women in Parliament. A total of 90 seats will be reserved for women, up from 60 on the last ballot. EFE