UPDATE 10-Huge turnout in Tunisia's Arab Spring election

Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:06pm GMT
 

* Islamists expected to win but coalitions expected

* Secularists heckle Islamist leader at polling station

* Election official says turnout was over 90 percent (Updates with voter turnout figure)

By Tarek Amara and Christian Lowe

TUNIS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Tunisians turned out in huge numbers to vote in the country's first free election on Sunday, 10 months after Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in a protest that started the Arab Spring uprisings.

The leader of an Islamist party predicted to win the biggest share of the vote was heckled outside a polling station by people shouting "terrorist", highlighting tensions between Islamists and secularists being felt across the Arab world.

The suicide of vegetable peddler Bouazizi, prompted by despair over poverty and government repression, provoked mass protests which forced President Zine al-Abidine to flee Tunisia. This in turn inspired uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain.

Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the moderately Islamist Ennahda party, took his place in the queue outside a polling station in the El Menzah 6 district of the capital.   Continued...

 
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