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Polls Close In Tunisia's National Elections

Voters in Tunisia have cast ballots in national polls, but few expect the election to challenge the rule of the country's longtime leader.

Poll stations closed just before sunset Sunday and early returns are not due for at least several hours.

President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his party are expected to easily win the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The 68-year-old ruler faces three challengers, but even opposition politicians concede they have no chance of unseating the incumbent.

Human rights and opposition groups are critical of the elections, saying they are merely used to mask the president's authoritarian rule. They allege Tunisia has escaped international criticism because it is an ally of Europe and the United States in cracking down on Islamic militants.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.