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October 20, 2011

Campaigning Wraps Up in Tunisia

Campaigning is winding down in Tunisia on Friday as voters prepare to cast ballots in what will be the first elections since the revolution that topped former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January.

Voters on Sunday will choose 217 members of a constituent assembly that will write the country's constitution.

More than 10,000 candidates are vying for seats in the assembly.

Analysts predict the moderate Islamist Ennahda party will be the front-runner in the polls. The party was severely repressed under Ben Ali's administration.

On Thursday, interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi urged Tunisians to "vote without fear."  He sought to assure voters that the polling would be fair.

Ben Ali held power for 23 years before fleeing to Saudi Arabia in January in the wake of massive anti-government protests that sparked revolts across the Arab world.

A Tunisian court sentenced him, in absentia, to serve time in prison after he was convicted of corruption and abuse of power.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.