Provisional results showed on Monday that the four legal opposition parties that fielded candidates in Sunday's vote, as well as one independent list, together managed to win about 260 seats, of which 100 were for the Movement of Socialist Democrats.

About 2.8 million voters elected town councils to new five-year terms in the polls, with turnout calculated at more than 80% on average, ranging from 78% in northern Qalaat al- Andalus to 97% in central Chrarda, the interior minister said.

Final results are to be announced on Monday afternoon by Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem.

A three-party opposition coalition, the Democratic Coalition for Citizenship, pulled out of Sunday's elections, accusing the government last month of unfairly barring the group from running candidates in several cities.
  
The coalition, which the government said was barred purely for procedural reasons and failure to abide by the rules, slammed the local elections, saying they were "without stakes" and being held in a "closed political climate".

Crying foul

 

Rashid Khashana, a member of the political bureau of the Democratic Progressive Party in Tunisia, told Aljazeera that all opposition lists had been banned from taking part in the elections through political resolutions.

 

He also accused the Tunisian government of pre-determining the elections results and cast doubts on the integrity of the members of the elections control office who were appointed by the Tunisian president.

 

"All the members of the elections control office are closely linked to the president," he said.

Sunday's vote was the first in the country since the landslide re-election of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in October last year, when he won a fourth five-year term while the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) swept the parliamentary vote.