Tunisia Elections Shows Strong Islamist Vote

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In its first free election since Tunisia gained independence from France more than 50 years ago, more than 90 percent of the country's registered voters cast ballots on Sunday.

Out of the 80 political parties on the ballot, the formerly banned Islamist Ennahda party is taking the early lead for the new 217-seat constituent assembly, which will write a new constitution for the country.

Officials predict that all votes will be in by Tuesday.

Tunisia, which is 98 percent Muslim, overthrew the government of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali after a month-long uprising in January. Ben Ali and his family fled to Saudi Arabia.

Should Ennahda win a decisive victory, the new government could overturn Tunisia's progressive legislation on women and families in favor of Islamic sharia law.

In the nine months since the overthrow of Ben Ali, the Tunisian economy and unemployment have worsened, with tourists and foreign investors distancing themselves.

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