Tunisia announces presidential runoff election date

Published December 7th, 2014 - 07:29 GMT

The Tunisian electoral commission has announced that polling stations will be open to voters in the country’s presidential runoff election later this month.

The North African country’s electoral commission said the runoff vote would be held on December 21.

Commission chief, Shafiq Sarsar, added that Tunisians living abroad will start voting on December 19.

The announcement came shortly after the Administrative Court rejected all appeals filed by incumbent President Moncef Marzouki against the results of the first round.

On November 23, former Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi, the head of Tunisia’s secular party, Nidaa Tounes, managed to gain 39.5 percent of the votes, with his closest competitor, Marzouki, securing 33.4 percent.

A second round was required as neither of the candidates managed to win an absolute majority in the first round.

Authorities in the North African country said the voter turnout was around 64.6 percent, with some 5.3 million people eligible to vote.

Since its independence from France in 1956 until the popular uprising in 2011, Tunisia has had only two presidents, namely Habib Bourguiba, known as the father of independence, and ousted dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who overthrew Bourguiba in 1987.

Tunisia’s new constitution, adopted in January, has limited presidential powers, with most executive power resting with the prime minister from the parliamentary majority.

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