Tunisia’s interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi arrived to vote in the country’s first free election.
It comes ten months after a vegetable seller set fire to himself in an act of protest that started the Arab Spring uprisings.
Islamist party Ennahda is expected to win the biggest vote, however its leader Rachid Ghannouchi was heckled outside the polling station by people shouting terrorist – highlighting tensions between Islamists and secularists.
Ennahda’s rise is worrying Tunisia’s secularists who fear their country’s liberal modernists traditions are under threat.
Ghannouchi who spent 22 years in exile in Britain said he will not impose Muslim values on society.
Across the country hundreds of people queued outside polling stations early on Sunday morning.
The high level of voter interest was never seen during President Ben Ali’s rule, when only a small portion of people turned out to vote.
Ben Ali fled Tunisia in January after the uprisings spread across the Middle East.
One voter said: “After more than five decades it’s time to serve this country, which has suffered.”
Voters will elect a 217-seat assembly that will draft a new constitution.
Euronews correspondent Sami Frad said: “The presence of Tunisian voters in the polls is unprecedented, it is exceptional, Tunisians believe this operation will succeed, and create a true Republic.”