Tunisian voter turnout near 70%

2011-10-23 20:55

Tunis - Voter turnout in Tunisia's first-ever democratic election was nearing 70%, elections chief Kamel Jendoubi said Sunday, with just over two hours of polling to go.

"The national average is approaching 70%," he told journalists in Tunis, adding that in some districts the rate was over 80%.

Voting was continuing at a steady pace, Jendoubi said ahead of the close of Tunisia's first polls since the overthrow of strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in January, the first of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Some 7.2 million people out of just over 10 million citizens were eligible to vote for a new constituent assembly in 12 hours of polling that started at 07:00 (06:00 GMT).

The assembly will write a new constitution for the country after decades of autocratic rule, and appoint a president who will form a caretaker government in the run-up to fresh elections.