24 Oct 2011

Voters flock to polls in first election after Arab uprising

10:33 pm on 24 October 2011

A huge turnout has been reported from Tunisia's election, the first free vote in the Arab world since the start of the Arab Spring uprisings.

An anti government rebellion in Tunisia began 10 months ago, triggering similar movements across the Middle East and North Africa.

Former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown after mass demonstrations.

Tunisians are electing a 217-seat assembly that will draft a new constitution and appoint an interim president who will choose a new government.

Nearly 90% of voters have cast their ballot, the BBC reports.

A Tunisian election official says the turnout has exceeded all expectations.

The Islamist party Ennahda was expected to win the most votes, although it is not clear if it will gain a majority.

The United States and the European Union have praised Tunisia on the peaceful election process, with US President Barack Obama saying the vote is "an important step forward".