Tunisia: Tunisia`s main Islamist party
prepared to lead talks to form the country`s first democratic
government as results were expected today to confirm its
dominance in the Arab Spring`s first polls.
The Islamist Ennahda has already claimed to have taken
the biggest block of votes, between 30 and 40 per cent,
hailing the start of what are expected to be complicated
negotiations for a majority coalition.
Results are due later today in Tunisia`s first-ever
democratic polls, in which massive numbers of voters elected a
new 217-member assembly that will rewrite the constitution and
appoint a new caretaker president and government for the
duration of the drafting process.
The European Union observer mission declared itself
"satisfied" today with the conduct of the polls, which it
said were transparent with only "minor irregularities".
A provisional count showed Ennahda had won half of the 18
seats reserved for expatriate representatives on the assembly
in separate elections held last week.
The assembly will decide on the country`s system of
government and how to guarantee basic liberties, including
women`s rights, which many in Tunisia fear Ennahda would seek
to diminish despite its assurances to the contrary.
It will also have interim authority to write laws and