Tunisians Elect Their First Post-Arab Spring PresidentWorld | December 22, 2014, Monday // 09:56| views
A supporter of the Tunisian presidential candidate Beji Caid Essibsi, leader of the Nidaa Tounes party, flashes the V-sign from a car as they celebrate the first results of the Tunisian elections in Sousse. Photo: EPA
The second round of the first free presidential elections took place in Tunisia on Sunday.
According to exit polls, 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi, who had won the first round with 39 % of the vote last month, was also victorious in the run-off with 55.5 % of the vote, the BBC reports.
Supporters of the rival candidate, interim President Moncef Marzouki, claim that the results are too close to declare the outcome with certainty.
Critics of Essesbsi say that this victory marks the return of a discredited establishment, as the winner had served both under the first post-independence President Habib Bourguiba and the deposed Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Essebsi himself assures that he is a technocrat who will bring stability to the country, which has been shaken following the ousting from office of Ben Ali in 2011.
Tunisia was the first country to depose its leader, setting an example for uprisings in neighbouring states, which led to the Arab Spring.
Although official results are still to be announced, several exit polls show that Essebsi has attracted around 55.5 % of the vote.
In view of the elections, Tunisia has increased its levels of security and closed border posts with neighbouring Libya which has been troubled by continuing unrest.
At least three attackers targeted a polling stations near the city of Kairouan on Sunday, with the security forces killing one of them and arresting three.
Following the end of election day, Essebsi appeared on local television, dedicating his victory to the martyrs of Tunisia.
He thanked his opponent and called on Marzouki to work together without excluding anyone.
Supporters expressed their satisfaction with Essebsi's victory by dancing and lighting fireworks in front of the headquarters of his secular party Nidaa Tounes.
Essebsi, who attracted voters with promises for stability and experience, is popular in the wealthy, coastal regions.
Marzouki, who was an exile under the Ben Ali regime, is more popular in the conservative, poorer south.
It was expected that Marzouiki is to attract some support from the moderate Islamist Enhanda party, which has been influential in Tunisian politics since the Arab Spring, but did not nominate a candidate.
The Constitution which was passed earlier this year provides that the president has limited powers.
The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, sets the foreign policy in consultation with the prime minister, ratifies treaties and represents the state.
He can appoint or dismiss senior officers only following consultations with the prime minister.
We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!