Essebsi Wins Tunisia Presidential Election

Beji Caid Essebsi, a veteran politician, has claimed victory in Tunisia’s first free presidential election, with exit polls suggesting he won 55.5 per cent of the vote.

Supporters of the 88-year-old celebrated in the capital Tunis, yesterday.

Campaigners for his rival, caretaker President Moncef Marzouki, say the results are too close to call.

Official results are still to be announced from the run-off election but one exit poll gave Essebsi 55.5 per cent, with several others showing similar figures.

The runoff election marks the culmination of a 4-year-long rocky transition to democracy after Tunisians overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, kicking off pro-democracy uprisings around the region in what became known as the Arab Spring.

“I dedicate my victory to the martyrs of Tunisia. I thank Marzouki, and now we should work together without excluding anyone,” Essebsi told local television.

Tunisia boosted security for the elections and closed border posts with Libya, which has been plagued by unrest.

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