Morocco's Interior Ministry says preliminary results of local and regional elections show a party created by the king's political counselor leading, but with a strong showing by the Islamists.

In the early hours of the morning Saturday, the ministry said with 80 percent of the vote counted, the Party of Authenticity and Modernity had 5,064 local council seats, 20 percent of the total.

The Islamist Party for Justice and Development, which leads the governing coalition, took 17 percent of the seats, including majorities in the main cities of Casablanca, Tangiers, Rabat, Fez and Agadir.

The elections for some 32,000 local and regional council seats are the first in Morocco since the adoption of a new reformist constitution after the 2011 Arab Spring demonstrations. The turnout was just over 50 percent.