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Tunisia declared the moderate Islamist Ennahda party the winner of elections held over the weekend, taking 90 of 217 seats in an assembly that will write a new constitution, state media reported.

The party won 41.5% of the vote while its nearest rival, the secularist Congress for the Republic, won 30 seats, according to the Tunis-Afrique Presse.

Violence broke out Thursday night in the central Tunisian city and province of Sidi Bouzid over election disqualifications.

Candidates who had been declared victorious in this week’s elections for membership in the 217-seat Constituent Assembly were disqualified in six provinces, the news agency said.

Supporters of the People’s Petition protested in front of the mayor’s building in the city of Sidi Bouzid, which is where the Tunisian uprising began last December when a 26-year-old fruit vendor set himself afire after a police officer seized his goods.

The Popular Petition supporters also attacked an office of the Ennahda Movement, the once-banned party that was the big winner of Sunday’s elections. Streets were barricaded with trash bins, rocks and tires that had been set afire.

An independent commission disqualified some candidates for seats that had been won by the People’s Petition, which is led by Hachemi Hamdi, who owns a satellite television station based in London.

The commission cited funding issues, but did not specify what they were. Under Tunisian electoral law, parties are not allowed to receive funding from abroad or from private companies.

Upon receiving the news, Hamdi appeared on national media and asked the 19 other People’s Petition members who had made it to the Constituent Assembly to withdraw.

CNN

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