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Moderate Islamist Party Wins Morocco's Elections

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Rabat, November 25, 2011.

A moderate Islamist party has won the most seats in Morocco's parliamentary elections and will be charged with leading the country in forming a new government.

The government said Saturday that preliminary results from Friday's polling show the Justice and Development Party (PJD) captured about one-fifth of the seats in the 395-member assembly.

Prime Minister Abbas el Fassi's nationalist Istiqlal Party came in second. Reuters news says the prime minister called the PJD's win a "victory for democracy."

Ruling party leaders say they are ready to enter talks with PJD on forming a coalition government.

Morocco's monarchy begin pursing democratic reforms earlier this year in a bid to head off the Arab Spring-style protests that have gripped much of the region.

As part of the effort, King Mohammed moved up elections that were originally set for late 2012.

Morocco says it will announce formal election results on Sunday.

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

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