Veteran anti-Islamist baby-kisser Beji Caid Essebsi was declared the winner of Tunisia’s first free presidential election on Monday, capping off the transition to democracy within the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
but in an indication of the challenges beforehand, police fired tear gasoline to disperse tons of of youths who burned tyres in protest on the end result.
Essebsi, an 88-year-previous former reliable in previous Tunisian regimes, took fifty five.68 per cent of the vote to defeat incumbent Moncef Marzouki in Sunday’s run-off, the electoral fee mentioned.
Essebsi had claimed victory quickly after polls closed but Marzouki, a protracted-exiled 69-12 months-previous rights activist, refused at the start to concede defeat.
On Monday, then again, Marzouki’s spokesman said on facebook the outgoing president had congratulated his rival.
a first spherical of voting on November 23 had viewed Essebsi in the lead with 39 p.c of the vote, six points in advance of Marzouki.
Participation within the 2d spherical was 60.1 %, electoral fee chief Chafik Sarsar said, after authorities had advised a high turnout.
US President Barack Obama congratulated Essebsi and hailed the vote as “a very important step toward the completion of Tunisia’s momentous transition to democracy”, a White home commentary said.
Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, said: “Tunisia has provided a shining example to the region and the arena of what can also be achieved thru dedication to democracy, consensus, and an inclusive political process.”
The vote used to be considered as a landmark in Tunisia, which sparked the Arab Spring mass revolutions with the 2011 ouster of longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
alternatively, the campaign was bitter and divisive, with Marzouki insisting a win for Essebsi would mark the return of Tunisia’s outdated guard of ruling elites.
Essebsi in flip accused his rival of representing the fairly Islamist party Ennahda that ruled Tunisia after the revolution and which installed him as president.
persevered divisions had been clear as some 300-400 protesters clashed with police in El Hamma within the south, where Marzouki had well-liked support.
Protesters “set fire to tyres and tried to attack a police station through throwing stones. security forces responded with tear fuel,” interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui mentioned.
a couple of police had been wounded within the clashes, which commenced late on Sunday, Aroui mentioned.
After declaring victory on Sunday, Essebsi had advised Marzouki to “work collectively for the future of Tunisia”.
– ‘Milestone’ vote –
The vote used to be the first time Tunisians have freely elected their president considering the fact that independence from France in 1956.
French international Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday congratulated the us of a on its “milestone” vote.
“The a hit staging of this presidential election confirms Tunisia’s historical function,” he said in a commentary.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in neighbouring Algeria also congratulated Essebsi and the “maturity” of the Tunisian voters.
The weekly Tunis Hebdo said the vote would “improve Tunisia’s reputation as the only Arab Spring u . s . that has managed to live on”.
The revolution that began in Tunisia spread to many parts of the Arab world, with mass protests in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen.
In every us of a except for Tunisia the revolution was adopted with the aid of violent turmoil or, as in Syria’s case, a devastating civil struggle.
Sunday’s vote was largely peaceful, although troops guarding pollpapers in the vital area of Kairouan who came beneath assault shot lifeless one assailant and captured three, the defence ministry stated.
The authorities had deployed tens of hundreds of squaddies and police for polling day.
ahead of the vote, jihadists had issued a videotaped chance in opposition to Tunisia’s political institution.
Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes celebration received parliamentary polls in October and he promised to start the process of forming a govt after the presidential vote.
beneath a brand new publish-revolution structure, the powers of the president had been curbed to guard against a return to dictatorship.
Ennahda came 2nd within the normal election and has no longer dominated out joining in a governing coalition.
the following govt will face main challenges.
Tunisia’s financial system is struggling to recuperate from the upheaval of the revolution and there are fears that standard joblessness will result in social unrest.
A nascent jihadist chance has also emerged, with militant groups lengthy suppressed under Ben Ali finishing up a few assaults including the killings of two anti-Islamist politicians.