Voter turnout for Tunisia’s first democratic polls on Sunday surpassed all projections, elections chief Kamel Jendoubi said five hours into the historic vote, while noting abuses by political parties.
“The turnout of Tunisians exceeded all expectations,” Jendoubi told a press conference in Tunis, adding the final rate “may exceed 60%”.
Jendoubi said some political parties had broken a blanket campaign ban that entered into force on Saturday. “Several parties continued their campaign,” he said without naming them, adding that some politicians also put pressure on illiterate voters while others sent mobile phone text messages aimed at influencing voters.
More than seven million Tunisians are eligible to vote for an assembly that will rewrite the Constitution and appoint a new, caretaker government nine months after the ouster of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in a revolt that sparked the Arab Spring.
The Islamist Ennahda party is tipped to take the biggest block of votes.