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Islamists See Big Gains in Tunisia Elections

Monday, 24 Oct 2011 01:01 PM

 

More than nine in ten eligible Tunisians cast ballots in the first election since the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, officials said.

“Among 4.1 million people registered, more than 90 percent have voted,” Boubaker Ben Thabet, secretary-general of the Independent High Authority for Elections in Tunis, told reporters today.

Tunisia’s uprising in December and January was the spark for unrest to spread across the Middle East this year. Its election yesterday for a constituent assembly that will write a new constitution is widely seen as a litmus test for democratization efforts in the region.

“This is a right that the people have earned through their struggles and sacrifices,” Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi said after voting, the state-run Agence Tunis Afrique Presse reported. “The Tunisian people are writing today a new page that separates two eras, a page that they can be proud of.”

Results will probably be announced tomorrow, according to Kamel Jendoubi, chairman of the election board.

Ennahdha, an Islamic party led by Rashid Ghannouchi that was legalized only six months ago, entered the vote as front- runner, according to an OpinionWay study released just before a pre-election polling ban took effect on Oct. 1.


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