Tunisia election: Ennahda party set to win minority


Tunisian security guard watches as Tunisians wait in line to vote on October 23, 2011, outside a polling station in Tunis.


Fethi Belaid

Moderate Islamist party Ennahda looks set to win Tunisia's election, but is expected to fall short of a majority and instead lead a coalition government, according to partial official results.

Tunisia's election, held over the weekend, is the first democratic vote by an "Arab Spring" country. Tunisians voted for an assembly that will draft a new constitution for their country, which was the first of the Middle East and North African countries to see a revolution this year.

Ennahda claimed victory Monday, and some of its rivals have admitted defeat, but initial results indicate the party will fall short of a majority, BBC News reports.

More from GlobalPost: Tunisia vote: Elections seen as litmus test for Arab Spring

Tunisia's electoral commission said Ennahda had won 18 out of 44 seats declared so far in a new assembly of 217 seats, according to the BBC.

The election saw 90 percent of voters turn out to cast their ballots. As of Tuesday, election officials were still counting ballot papers in some areas, Reuters reports.

Ennahda has pledged to create a multi-party secular democracy, and not an Islamist state. 

The party is led by Rachid Ghannouchi, a scholar who was in exile for 22 years because of harassment by Ben Ali's police. He is said to have modeled his approach on that of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Tunisia's ex-President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in January after being in power for 23 years.