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Islamists ahead in Tunisia's first free election

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TUNIS, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Moderate Islamists said on Monday their party appeared to be ahead in Tunisia's first free election since an uprising earlier this year that set off the Arab Spring revolts, hinting at a shift in a country long known for its secularism.
Monday, October 24, 2011 3:12:19 PM
Islamists ahead in Tunisia's first free election

Most forecasts point to the Ennahda party emerging with the biggest share of the vote, an outcome that worries secularists and could be replicated in other Arab states when they hold their own post-Arab Spring elections.

Tunisian radio read out voting figures obtained from districts in the northern town of Beja that showed Ennahda in the lead, with the center-left Congress for the Republic Party (CRP) also doing well.

Ennahda said its own polling suggested the same. Parties are allowed to have representatives present during the counting process.

"The results are very good for Ennahda. We don't want to give details but it's clear that Ennahda has enjoyed a level of success that in some cases equals the results of the voting abroad," an Ennahda official said.

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