The Islamist Ennahda party wins Tunisia’s first elections since the Arab Spring, amid protests in the centre of the country.
Ennahda won 90 seats in the 217-seat assembly, which will draft a constitution, form an interim government and schedule new elections, most likely in early 2013. The Islamists’ nearest rival, the secularist Congress for the Republic, won 30 seats
Ennahda has told secularists around the world that it will respect women’s rights and would not impose a Muslim moral code on Tunisian society.
Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi, a soft-spoken Islamic scholar who spent 22 years in exile in Britain, said: “We salute Sidi Bouzid and its sons who launched the spark.
“We will continue this revolution to realise its aims of a Tunisia that is free, independent, developing and prosperous in which the rights of God, the Prophet, women, men, the religious and the non-religious are assured because Tunisia is for everyone.”
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Separately, police used tear gas against a crowd of hundreds in Sidi Bouzid, the town where the Tunisian revolution was first sparked, who were protesting against the elimination of the party that came fourth.
The Popular List party won seats in six districts but was removed from the election race because of “financial irregularities”.
On Thursday, hundreds of people marched in protest against the decision and the demonstration resulted in violent clashes with police.