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Dec 22, 2014 7:05 AM

Tunisia awaits election final, press hails Essebsi

The Associated Press

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) Newspapers in Tunisia have followed exit polls in proclaiming an 88-year-old former minister the winner of the presidential election.

Official results are expected later Monday but polls immediately after voting ended gave Beji Caid Essebsi around 55 percent of the vote.

The election ends four years of transition to democracy after Tunisians overthrew their long-ruling dictator.

The Tunisian observer group Mourakiboun on Tuesday gave similar estimates to Essebsi, who served as a minister under Tunisia's first president.

His competitor, human rights activist and outgoing interim president Moncef Marzouki, has yet to concede the election, however.

Voting was largely pronounced free and fair with a participation rate of 59 percent, less than the nearly 70 percent in the previous round and legislative elections in October.


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