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Essebsi claims historic victory in Tunisian Election

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Veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi declared victory in 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.

Tunisia was the first country to depose its leader in the Arab Spring and inspired other uprisings in the region. Mr Essebsi held office under both deposed President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali and Tunisia’s first post-independence leader, Habib Bourguiba.

Victory for Essebsi would enable him to consolidate power, with his new secular party, Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunisia) already controlling parliament after defeating the main Islamist party in legislative elections in October.

With a new progressive constitution and a string of votes successfully completed, Tunisia is hailed as an example of democratic change in a region that is struggling to cope with the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts.