Morocco nationalists in poll win
Morocco's conservative Istiqlal party, a member of the governing coalition, has won the most seats in parliamentary elections, provisional results say.
Istiqlal ( Independence) won 52 seats, followed by the opposition Islamists of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) with 47, said the interior minister. ( BBC )
The PJD had expressed hopes of emerging as the largest party and accused the ruling secular elite of buying votes.
The government dismissed the claim but said it would examine any evidence.
In a report, international observers said: "[The election] was characterised by a spirit of transparency and professionalism during the entire election campaign."
Voters chose candidates from more than 30 parties, about a dozen of whom were expected to make it to parliament.
The centre-left USFP won the last election, and was joined by Istiqlal in government.
Turnout was estimated at 37% of the 15 million voters, the lowest in Morocco's young democratic history.
But since most power is still held by the monarchy in Morocco, analysts say it is not the elections that need attention but constitutional reform.
The BBC's Richard Hamilton in the capital, Rabat, says it was no mean feat that the polls were spared disruption from extremists.
Morocco has escaped the kind of unrest that plagues neighbouring Algeria, where a car bomb on Saturday killed nearly 30 people.
Many Moroccans feel the government has not done enough to eradicate widespread poverty, unemployment and corruption, our correspondent says.
PJD leaders have visited Washington to defuse any fears that the party could harbour a secret radical agenda.
Its leaders say they are not extremists who want to create an Islamic state.
Just days ago, the US granted nearly $700m (Ј350m) in economic aid to Morocco.
The US is keen to encourage moderates to counter the threat posed by more extreme movements in North Africa, say political observers.