Morocco's ruling Islamists took the lead in the country's parliamentary elections on Saturday in a win set to extend their stay in power.
The moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) has gained 125 of the 395 seats up for grabs in the polls held on Friday, official results from the Interior Ministry showed.
The PJD's liberal rival, Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), believed to be close to the powerful monarchy, has come in second with 102 seats.
The conservative Istiqlal (Independence) Party follows with 46 seats, according to the results.
The remaining seats have been won by several other parties.
Though the PJD did not garnered a clear majority and will have to form a ruling coalition, the party's secretary-general, Abdelilah Benkirane, praised the results as a "win for democracy."
"Today democracy has won after the party [PJD] carried out necessary and important reforms in fields of economy," he said.
Benkirane ruled out the possibility that his party will form a coalition with its PAM rivals.
"Everything is possible with other parties," the 62-year-old politician added without elaborating.
The PJD has led a governing coalition in Morocco since 2011.
Around 43 per cent of Morocco's 15.7 million eligible voters cast their ballots in Friday's parliamentary vote, according to official figures.
The election was the North African country's second legislative poll since the kingdom adopted constitutional reforms to quell the street protests that erupted during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
In the 2011 elections, the PJD came first with 107 seats, while the Istiqlal Party took 60 and the PAM 47.
The 2011 win enabled the Islamists to form their first government in Morocco's modern history.
Monday, October 10, 2016 - 20:30