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Polls open in Tunisian election
21 Dec 2014 12:12
Polls have opened in Tunisia for a presidential run-off election that completes the country's transition to full democracy nearly four years after an uprising which ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.
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With a new progressive constitution and a full parliament elected in October, Tunisia is hailed as an example of democratic change for a region still struggling with the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts.
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The North African nation avoided the bitter post-revolt divisions troubling Libya and Egypt, but today’s election is between a former Ben Ali official and the incumbent who claims to defend the legacy of the 2011 revolution.
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Front runner Beji Caid Essebsi, a former parliament speaker under Mr Ben Ali, won 39% of votes in the first round of voting in November with current president Moncef Marzouki taking 33% of the ballots.
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Polling opened at 8am local time (7am Irish time) with a heavy security presence at voting stations around the capital Tunis.
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Official preliminary results are not expected until Monday.
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Overnight one gunman was killed and three arrested after they opened fire on a polling station in the central Kairouan governate, a defence ministry official said.
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