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Nervous smiles as Tunisia enters new democratic era

Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images

New Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, left, of the Congress for the Republic Party, smiles on November 22 during the opening of the first session of the constituent elected assembly in Tunis.

msnbc.com news services report:

Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images

Deputies stand before interim President Fouad Mbazaa's speech during the inaugural session of the elected constituent assembly on November 22.

Tunisia entered a new era of democracy on November 22 with the inaugural session of its democratically elected constituent assembly, 10 months after a popular uprising ended years of dictatorship. 

As the country that set off the wave of pro-democracy movements that engulfed the Arab region, Tunisia's efforts to build a democracy are being closely watched around the world.

The Islamist Ennahda Party won the most seats in elections on October 25 and partnered with the liberal Congress for the Republic and the left-of-center Ettakatol Party to form a ruling coalition and divide up the top posts between them.

The mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the fruitseller whose self-immolation sparked the revolution, attended the opening session of the assembly.

"I'm an optimist. I wish success for my country and I hope that the parties will work together and avoid problems," Manoubia Bouazizi told Reuters last month. "That's my message to them."

"I hope they are worthy of the loss that I suffered."

Fethi Belaid / AFP - Getty Images

Manoubia Bouazizi, left, the mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the fruitseller whose self-immolation sparked the revolution that ousted a dictator and ignited the Arab Spring, attends the opening of the first session of the constituent elected assembly in Tunis.

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