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Tunisia: Ennahda claims election victory

A moderate Islamist party called Ennahda claims victory in Tunisia election.

Tunisia election 2011 10 23Enlarge
Tunisian security guard watches as Tunisians wait in line to vote on October 23, 2011, outside a polling station in Tunis. (Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)

A moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, claimed victory Monday in Tunisia's weekend election.

Tunisians went to the polls Sunday to vote for an assembly that would draft a constitution for the country, whose revolution set off the so-called Arab Spring.

The New York Times reports that Ennahda won at least 30 percent of the votes Sunday.

"The first confirmed results show that Ennahda has obtained first place," campaign manager Abdelhamid Jlazzi said outside party headquarters, Reuters reports.

Read more from GlobalPost in Tunis: Tunisia vote: Elections seen as litmus test for Arab Spring

A top official of the Ennahda party, Ali Laredi, said Monday the party expects to receive more than half the votes. The Times reports:

Calling his party “the most modernist” Islamic political movement in the Arab world — meaning the most committed to principles of democracy and pluralism — Mr. Laredi predicted that it would now “lead the way” for others around the region.

The election, which came 10 months after protests began in the North African country, saw close to 70 percent voter turnout, Reuters reported Sunday.

U.S. President Barack Obama praised Tunisians on Sunday for their first election since the revolt, the Associated Press reports.

"The United States reaffirms its commitment to the Tunisian people as they move toward a democratic future that offers dignity, justice, freedom of expression, and greater economic opportunity for all," Obama said in a statement, AP reports.

Final election results are expected within the next few days, the Times reports.

Read more from GlobalPost in Tunis: Tunisia's democracy has a head start

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/111024/tunisia-ennahda-election-victory