Of all the countries whose leaders were felled by the Arab Spring, Tunisia is alone in that it is hailed as a model for democratic reform
Veteran Tunisian politician Beji Caid Essebsi, who served in ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime, claimed victory after a presidential run-off vote on Sunday.
Essebsi’s rival, incumbent president Moncef Marzouki, did not concede defeat, though, and official results will not be released until Monday, Reuters reports.
Marzouki has argued that electing Essebsi, who served as speaker of Parliament in the government ousted in 2011, as well as in the government of Tunisia’s autocratic first president, would rewind Tunisia’s democratic progress.
Yet Essebsi, of the newly formed Secular Party, is thought to represent a turnaround from Marzouki’s Islamist-led coalition government, which has led the country since the Jasmine Revolution. The government has been criticized for not doing more to quell extremist Islamist movements in Tunisia.