Tunisians Vote

Tunisians VoteTunisians Vote

Tunisians voted Sunday in the runoff of the first free presidential election in the country’s history, the final leg of an at times bumpy four-year transition from dictatorship.

The second round vote pits 88-year-old favorite Beji Caid Essebsi, leader of the Nidaa Tounes party, against incumbent Moncef Marzouki, who held the post through an alliance with Ennahda.

It is the first time that Tunisians have freely elected their president since independence from France in 1956, the AFP wrote.

Amid tight security and the closure of main border posts with strife-torn neighbor Libya, almost 5.3 million Tunisians were eligible to vote.

The result is due to be announced between Monday and Wednesday.

A first round held on November 23 saw Essebsi win 39 percent of the vote, six percentage points ahead of Marzouki, a 69-year-old former rights activist installed by parliament two months after December 2011 polls.

The vote is the country’s third in as many months, after Nidaa Tounes won an October parliamentary election, making Essebsi favourite to be the next president, but with powers curbed under constitutional amendments to guard against a return to dictatorship.