Run-off expected in Tunisia poll

Tunis – Vote counting was continuing on Monday in Tunisia’s presidential poll, with indications pointing to a run-off to be held in late December.

The official Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) quoted election commission head Shafiq Sarsar putting turnout at 64.6 percent inside Tunisia, and slightly higher among overseas voters.

Early indications from unofficial results put former prime minister Beji Caid Essibsi, of the secularist Nidaa Tounes party, in the lead with 42.7 percent of the vote.

Interim president Moncef Marzouki, of the centre-left Congress for the Republic, was in second place on 32.6 percent.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, a run-off between the top two will be held on December 28.

Marzouki has already requested Essibsi, as leader of the winning party in last month’s parliamentary elections, to form a government, according to TAP.

The second-placed party in the legislative elections, the moderate Islamist Ennahda movement, did not run a presidential candidate.

Tunisia is widely seen as the sole success story of the Arab revolutionary movements of 2011.

Revolts in Libya, Syria and Yemen have all led to varying degrees of ongoing conflict, while Egypt saw its Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, elected in 2012, deposed by the army last year.

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