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Morocco votes in test of king's reform drive

The AP reports from RABAT, Morocco:

Moroccans voted for a new parliament Friday in Arab Spring-inspired elections that are facing a boycott by democracy campaigners who say the ruling monarchy isn't committed to real change.

Zacarias Garcia / EPA

The people in charge of a polling station wait for voters in a school in Rabat, Morocco, on November 25.

A moderate Islamist party and a pro-palace coalition led by the finance minister are competing for the top spot, but a key test for the authorities' legitimacy will be how many voters cast ballots.

The king amended the constitution over the summer giving the prime minister new powers, including the ability to dissolve parliament and make certain appointments, in response to pro-democracy protests. But the ultimate authority remains with the king.

"I've always voted, but this time it is more important," said Dr. Mohammed Ennabli as he lined up to vote in the affluent Agdal neighborhood of Rabat. "Before it was the king who chose, now it is the people who choose."

Zacarias Garcia / EPA

A man prepares the table with the traditional couscous for the people in charge of a polling station in a school in Rabat on November 25.

Many people, however, scorned a process they say has been going on for decades without any tangible effect on their lives.

"I won't vote, the promises are never kept — with or without the new constitution, it is the same," said Abdallah Cherachaoui, an unemployed 45 year old in the lower income district of Akkari. "They are laughing at us." Read the full story.

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