Search Keywords
Financial Times Wall Street Journal Economist
News Period From   To
News: 60885    Funds: $437    Pays: $524

Go Back to
News List
|
|
This News on
Daily Paywall
  Rated 110 | Views 506
Rate it | Share it 

Middle East News
Tunisians Head to Elect President
From the Wall Street Journal of Sun, 21 Dec 2014 06:18:56 EST
Tunisian President Moncef Mouzouki casts his ballot paper at a polling station in Sousse, Tunisia, on Sunday, as the country goes to the polls in a presidential runoff election.
Tunisian President Moncef Mouzouki casts his ballot paper at a polling station in Sousse, Tunisia, on Sunday, as the country goes to the polls in a presidential runoff election. European Pressphoto Agency

TUNIS, Tunisia—Tunisians began voting Sunday in the second and final round of a presidential election that pits a figure associated with the nation’s autocratic past against the interim president who has led the country through its democratic transition.

Beji Caid Essebsi, an 88-year-old who held various cabinet posts under two autocratic regimes, is expected to win but has faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from Moncef Marzouki, a 69-year-old human-rights activist and physician who was appointed interim president in 2011 by a constituent assembly.

In last month’s first round, Mr. Essebsi secured 39.5% of votes, while Mr. Marzouki took a stronger-than-expected 33.4%—a result that touched off a period of sharply negative campaigning. Mr. Essebsi, despite his age and political history, was tipped to trounce the competition in the first round based on his message of restoring Tunisia’s “state prestige” and economy after four years of political instability.

The nation of about 11 million people sparked what became known as the Arab Spring in 2011 when massive street demonstrations lead longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee. Tunisia has largely avoided the violence and political chaos that has engulfed other nations in the region, with political parties with disparate ideologies embracing consensus.

Still, expectations that Mr. Essebsi will win have raised concerns that Tunisia could be taking a step back toward one-party rule. Nida Tunis, the party Mr. Essebsi created in 2012, won a plurality of seats in a parliamentary vote in October, beating Islamist party Ennahda, which secured the second-largest share of seats.

The parliament was the first elected with a five-year mandate since the 2011 uprising.

Throughout the capital on Sunday, voters lined up to cast their ballots at schools designated as polling centers.

Ahlam Souli, a 21-year-old economics student, said she was voting for Mr. Essebsi despite reservations about his political past, describing him as the better of “two bad options.”

“But with his experience he could get things done,” she said. “We want jobs when we finish our education, better and cheaper transportation and security when we go out. That’s what I’m concerned with.”

Write to Tamer El-Ghobashy at tamer.el-ghobashy@wsj.com



This article is provided by DailyPaywall.com, which is published and distributed by Paolo Cirio Ltd., registered in England, number 8188080. Registered Office: Suite 36, 88-90 Hatton Garden, City of London, EC1 N8PG, United Kingdom. Paolo Cirio Ltd. alone is responsible and liable for information and services provided through Daily Paywall’s newspaper and website.

The most relevant news can also help with your daily little expenses!




Earn Money
Offer Money
Buy Advertising
Buy Artwork Article

Similar Articles
Financial News that Matter for free!