Senior Andean Correspondent
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Dec 22, 2014

Essebsi declares win in Tunisia election, rival contests

TUNIS (Reuters) – Veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi declared victory in Sunday’s presidential run-off vote, seen as the last step in Tunisia’s shift to full democracy four years after an uprising ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Official results are not due until Monday and his rival, the incumbent president, Moncef Marzouki, refused to concede defeat.

Dec 21, 2014

Tunisians vote in historic presidential run-off

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisians voted on Sunday in 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. 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. The North African nation avoided the bitter post-revolt divisions troubling Libya and Egypt, but Sunday’s election pits a former Ben Ali official against an incumbent who claims to defend the legacy of the 2011 revolution. Frontrunner Beji Caid Essebsi, a former parliament speaker under Ben Ali, won 39 percent of votes in the first round of voting in November with current president Moncef Marzouki winning 33 percent.

Polling opened at 8 a.m. local time (0200 ET) with a heavy security presence but morning turnout looked thin at stations around the capital. Official preliminary results were not expected until Monday.

Dec 19, 2014

Tunisia’s old regime hopes makeover can win it the election

TUNIS (Reuters) – In the corner of his office, Tunisian presidential candidate Beji Caid Essebsi keeps a bust of Habib Bourguiba, who led the country in 1957 after its independence from France. It is a symbol, he says, of the kind of statesman Tunisia now needs.

The 88-year-old was a minister in Bourguiba’s government and is now standing for President himself. To win however he must convince voters to look past his more recent job — speaker for the autocratic Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who rigged elections to rule for 24 years until the country threw him out in 2011.

Nov 25, 2014

Tunisian secularist wins first presidential round, heads for run-off

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisian secularist leader Beji Caid Essebsi has narrowly beaten incumbent President Moncef Marzouki in the first round of a landmark presidential election, but the two frontrunners must meet again in a December run-off.

The vote for Tunisia’s first directly elected president marks the final step in the North African state’s transition to full democracy following a 2011 revolution that ousted veteran autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Nov 23, 2014

Tunisians vote for first freely elected president

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisians went to the polls on Sunday to vote for their first directly elected president, in the final step to be taken to full democracy after the 2011 revolution that ended the rule of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

More than three years since overturning Ben Ali’s one-party rule, Tunisia has become a model of transition for the region by adopting a new constitution, the politics of compromise and avoiding the turmoil facing its neighbors.

Nov 22, 2014

Two frontrunners emerge in Tunisia’s presidential vote

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisians vote on Sunday in a presidential election pitting an ex-official from the days of autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali against a rights activist appealing to the spirit of the 2011 revolt that ousted him.

Beji Caid Essebsi, an 87-year-old former Ben Ali official, prefers to invoke the memory of Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia’s first post-independence leader, as a reference for the secular, modern state-building he advocates for the North African country.

Nov 21, 2014

Jihadi wave tests Tunisia’s young democracy

SOUSSE Tunisia (Reuters) – Tunisians were used to seeing Nidhal Selmi belting around a stadium, proudly sporting his country’s red and white colors as a defender on the national football squad.

So it was a shock when he appeared in a camouflage jacket with a Khalashnikov rifle across his thigh in a photograph from Syria posted online shortly before he was killed fighting there.

Oct 30, 2014

Tunisia’s Islamists down but not out after election defeat

TUNIS (Reuters) – After Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahda conceded defeat in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, there were no fireworks, concerts or cheering rallies outside the headquarters of its rival, the secular Nidaa Tounes alliance.

Instead it was Ennahda’s leader Rached Ghannounchi who appeared before jubilant supporters to give what looked more like a victory address than a concession speech.

Oct 27, 2014

Tunisian Islamists concede election defeat to secular party

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s Ennahda party, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the 2011 “Arab Spring” revolts, conceded defeat on Monday in elections that are set to make its main secular rival the strongest force in parliament.

Official results from Sunday’s elections – the second parliamentary vote since Tunisians set off uprisings across much of the Arab World by overthrowing autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali – were still to be announced.

Oct 27, 2014

Tunisians elect new parliament to consolidate young democracy

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisians elected a new parliament on Sunday bringing full democracy within their reach almost four years after an uprising cast out autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and inspired the “Arab Spring” revolts.

Official results were not expected until after Sunday, but moderate Islamist party Ennahda and rival secular alliance Nidaa Tounes are favoured to win most seats in only the second free election in Tunisia since Ben Ali fled into exile.

    • About Pat

      "Patrick Markey is the Senior Andean Correspondent for Reuters, based in Bogota, Colombia. For the last nine years he has covered and helped manage coverage across the Andean region, including Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. He has also reported on top stories across Latin America, including more recently the Honduras coup and Haiti's earthquake."
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