Secularists claim lead in Tunisia's historic poll

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Secularists claim lead in Tunisia's historic poll

Secularists claim lead in Tunisia's historic poll
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A secular alliance appears to be leading the race for seats in Tunisia’s first parliamentary election under a new constitution.

As soon as polling stations closed on Sunday the count began but official results aren’t expected until late Monday at the earliest.

A large number of parties took part in the election from conservative Islamist Salafist movements to Socialists, meaning a coalition is on the cards.

However the leader of the secular Nidda Tounes alliance, Beji Caid Essebsi is confident:

“Actually we have positive indicators showing that Nidaa Tounes, will be in first position. We cannot talk about the outcome until official results are announced. However, there are positive indicators that we note with pride. We will wait for the final results to give our reactions.”

The vote is part of a series of democratic changes to have taken place since a revolt in the country triggered the Arab Spring uprisings.

Nidaa Tounes politicians see themselves as modern technocrats in contrast to the rival moderate Islamist Ennahda party.

After the 2011 revolt Ennahda won most seats in Tunisia’s first free election and formed a coalition before a political crisis over their rule and the murder of two secular leaders forced them into a deal to step aside for a caretaker premier.

Despite being criticised for inexperience Ennahda has strong support among Tunisia’s poor and are expected to do well in Sunday’s election.

The turnout was put as high as 65% .