Africa

Observers: Moroccan election overall fair, but turnout low

A Moroccan man casts his ballot at a polling station for the parliamentary elections, in Rabat, Morocco, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.  Amid worries about jobs and extremism, millions of Moroccans voted Friday in parliamentary elections that will determine whether moderate Islamists will keep control of the government or lose power to a young rival party close to the powerful royal palace.(AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

A Moroccan man casts his ballot at a polling station for the parliamentary elections, in Rabat, Morocco, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Amid worries about jobs and extremism, millions of Moroccans voted Friday in parliamentary elections that will determine whether moderate Islamists will keep control of the government or lose power to a young rival party close to the powerful royal palace.(AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)  (The Associated Press)

Morocco's national election observer body says voting last week was largely free and fair, though it is investigating sporadic cases of vote-buying and expressed concern about low turnout.

The moderate Islamist Party of Justice and Development won Friday's legislative election, beating out a party with close ties to the royal palace. The PJD, which first won elections in 2011 after Arab Spring protests, is now working on building a coalition government.

The National Council of Human Rights, which oversees election monitoring, released a preliminary report Sunday noting sporadic irregularities. Council president Driss El Yazami told reporters the elections took place in a "serene and transparent climate."

However, he expressed concern about the 43 percent turnout rate. Some Moroccans see voting as futile because ultimate power rests with the king.