Tunisians choose president in run-off elections

Tunisians choose president in run-off elections

Voters in Tunisia are choosing their first freely elected president in a run-off election seen as a landmark in the country’s move to democracy.

Beji Caid Essebsi, who won the first round with 39% of the vote, is challenging interim leader Moncef Marzouki.

Mr Essebsi represents the secular-leaning Nidaa Tounes party.

Tunisia was the first country to depose its leader in the Arab Spring and inspired other uprisings in the region.

Mr Essebsi, who turned 88 this week, held office under both deposed President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali and Tunisia’s first post-independence leader, Habib Bourguiba.

He is popular in the wealthy, coastal regions, and has based his appeal to voters on stability and experience.

Beji Caid Essebsi, who leads a secularist party, has support in the wealthy, coastal regions
Rival Moncef Marzouki is more popular in the south and interior of Tunisia

His opponent, Moncef Marzouki, is a 67-year-old human rights activists forced into exile by the Ben Ali government.

He has been interim president since 2011 and is more popular in the conservative, poorer south.

Mr Marzouki is likely to attract support from the Islamist Ennahda party, which has paid a key role in Tunisian politics since the Arab Spring but has not fielded a candidate.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30565895

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