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Tunisia Holds First Election Of The Arab Spring

Dawn Megli |
October 23, 2011 | 1:56 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Tunisians waited in long lines to cast votes in a free election
Tunisians waited in long lines to cast votes in a free election
Tunisians turned out in large numbers for the first free elections to be held since the advent of the Arab Spring.

Voters waited in long lines to vote with 70 percent of the electorate turning out, the Telegraph reports. 

They are voting to elect a president and an interim parliament to draft a national constitution, the NY Times said. It has been ten months since the former autocrat Zine el Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in the face of a sudden uprising. 

11,000 candidates ran for the 218 seats. They represented 110 different parties. Ennahda, the Islamist party, is expected to win the most votes, up to 40 percent by some estimates, according to Reuters. This would make it the single strongest party. 

A striking feature of this election is a gender parity law designed to ensure the participation of women in the democratic process, according to Al Jazeera. But many worry that, depending on the make-up of the constitutional assembly, the political climate may not remain so friendly to women.

Results are expected to be announced Tuesday.

View "Follow reactions to the election" on Storify

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