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Beji Caid Essebsi puts his hand on the Quran to be sworn in as Tunisia’s president during a ceremony at the National Assembly in Tunis, Dec. 31, 2014 (AP photo by Hassene Dridi).

Tunisia’s Elections Seal Transition, Raise Fears of Old Regime

Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part briefing on Tunisia’s elections. Part I looks at the state of democratic transition with the rise of the Nedaa Tunis party. Part II will focus on economic issues and whether Tunisia’s progress is sustainable.

Tunisians are making history again. The birthplace of the Arab Spring seems to be setting itself up to be the home of Arab democracy, pluralism and peaceful transition—and a model for the entire Arab world. Last month, for the first time since its independence from France in 1956, Tunisia successfully held competitive parliamentary and presidential elections—praised by international observers as transparent. While the secular Nedaa Tunis party won a plurality in parliament and its leader, 87 year-old Beji Caid Essebsi, was elected president with 55.68 percent of the votes, the real winner of these elections is Tunisia. ...

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