Tunisia: Independents draw most votes in local elections

Electoral officials in Tunisia say that independent candidates cumulatively took more votes in the North African country's first municipal elections since its 2011 revolution than the two powerhouse parties — the moderate Islamist Ennahdha and the secular Nida Tounes.

Political haggling between the two main parties will determine whether the capital city, Tunis, gets its first female mayor. Souad Abderrahim, a pharmacist close to the Islamist party, got 21 percent of the votes while her Nida Tounes rival, Kamel Idir, took 17 percent.

Electoral officials, announcing results late Wednesday, said the voting was marked by a low turnout — 35.6 percent — and irregularities in the competition for more than 7,000 seats on municipal councils.

Presidential and parliamentary elections have been held since Tunisia's 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab Spring.