TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisians turned out in force for their country’s first truly free elections today, voting that is expected to favor a long-banned Islamist party and seen as a bellwether for pro-democracy movements across the Arab world.

With soldiers keeping order, no violence was reported near the end of the voting, though authorities noted minor scattered violations. Thousands of observers monitored Tunisia’s first elections since an uprising overthrew the longtime leader and set off anti-government revolts around the Middle East.

Voters — women with headscarves and without, former political prisoners, young people whose Facebook posts helped fuel the revolution in the North African country — are electing a 217-seat assembly that will appoint a new government and then write a new constitution.

Kamel Jendoubi, head of the electoral commission, said turnout was “over 60 percent and close to 70 percent” by 4 p.m. (11 a.m. EDT), three hours before the polls closed. That was above expectations.

He told reporters there was no violence, but some “soft” intimidation of voters, such as street demonstrations and people continuing to campaign on voting day, which is against the rules. Some parties had received warnings, but he did not name them.

Results might not come until Monday or Tuesday. The party expected to come out on top is the moderate Islamic movement Ennahda, whose victory, especially in a comparatively secular society like Tunisia, could have wide implications for similar religious parties in the region.

Voters are definitively turning the page on the 23-year presidency of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown by a monthlong uprising on Jan. 14 stirred by anger at unemployment, corruption and repression.

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