Rabat, Sep 5 (EFE).- Morocco is poised to hold legislative and municipal elections this week that will test the popularity of the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party, in power since 2011.
Due to the pandemic, campaigning for Wednesday’s elections has been held largely online while some observers expect the results to be delayed.
For the first time, Morocco is holding three elections simultaneously with the public voting in legislative, regional and municipal ballots.
Some 6,815 candidates are running for the 395 seats in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, which equates to 17 would-be lawmakers per seat.
In the regional vote, 9,892 candidates will tussle it out over 678 councils in the country’s 12 regions while the municipal elections has 157,569 candidates.
Some 17.9 million people have the right to vote, accounting for 75% of the population.
Almost 30 parties are competing in the ballot, headed by four heavyweights set to scoop up the majority of seats — the Justice and Development Party, the liberal Authenticity and Modernity Party, the nationalist Istiqlal Party and the National Rally of Independents.
The leader of the National Rally of Independents, the richest man in the country and the current agriculture minister, is set to be a favorite in the upcoming vote, according to analysts.
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 a law reform in March this year.
The reform, designed to clip the wings of the powerful Justice and Development Party, also got rid of the 3% benchmark to enter parliament.