Tunisia Election Protests Turn Violent

Islamist party officially declared winners
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2011 5:07 AM CDT
A woman walks past electoral graffiti in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, where the protests that lit the Arab world began.    (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)
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(Newser) – A moderate Islamist party has been declared the official winner of the Arab Spring's first election. The Ennahda Party did even better in Tunisia's first elections for decades than predicted as polls closed, winning than 41% of the vote and 90 seats in the new 217-seat parliament. But in the town where a vegetable seller sparked protests across the Arab world by setting himself on fire, protests against the cancelation of several seats won by a small party turned violent, reports the BBC.

The protesters in Sidi Bouzid, infuriated by the cancelation of Popular List party seats because of "financial irregularities" found by election authorities, attacked Ennahda's local office. Police fired tear gas to disperse the mob. Ennahda's leader hailed the town for its role in the uprising and promised that the party would build a country "where the rights of God, the Prophet, women, men, the religious and the non-religious are assured—because Tunisia is for everyone."

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