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Opposition Islamists Claim Fraud in Moroccan Parliamentary Elections


Officials with Morocco's opposition Justice and Development Party say they did not achieve their goal in Friday's legislative elections because of widespread voter fraud.

The moderate Islamic party had predicted it would increase its 42 seats in parliament to more than 70, becoming the largest bloc in the legislature. But a party spokesman Saturday told reporters that the best it can hope for is around 55 seats.

Party leaders blamed the lower-than-expected totals on vote-buying by the ruling party. Morocco's Interior Minister Chakib Ben Moussa called the elections fair and open.

Officials say voter turnout was an estimated 41 percent, a record low. Candidates from 33 parties and a number of independents competed for seats in the 325-member national assembly.

Morocco's outgoing government has highlighted its five-year record of building roads and ports, improving public housing, boosting the rights of married women, and other reforms.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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