Moderate Islamists Win in Tunisia

Hassene Dridi / AP Photo

Abdelfattah Mourou, head of the Tunisian political party "Independent Democratic Alliance" cast his vote in La Marsa, near Tunis, on Sunday.

In the inaugural elections of the Arab Spring, the moderate Islamist Nahda Party has declared victory in Tunisia, nine months after street protests drove dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee. The party, which was banned and persecuted under Ben Ali, received about 40 percent of the vote, according to early results, compared with less than 20 percent for the Ettakatol secularists. The two groups are expected to form a coalition. Nahda has promised to uphold Tunisia's strong secular traditions, with the most advanced women's rights in the Arab world.