Essebsi wins Tunisia’s presidency

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Supporters of the Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunisia) secular party movement wave flags and shout slogans in Tunis December 21, 2014. (Reuters)

Tunisian veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi wins presidential election with 55.68 percent versus 44.32 percent for his rival Moncef Marzouki, Monday’s - electoral results showed.

The election of Beji Caid Essebsi, whose party dominated legislative elections back in October, completes Tunisia’s democratic transition after the overthrow of its dictator in 2011.

Voting was largely pronounced free and fair with a participation rate of 60 percent, less than the nearly 70 percent in the previous round and legislative elections, the Associated Press reported.

After the results, Marzouki congratulated Essebsi.

“Dr Moncef Marzouki has congratulated Mr Beji Caid Essebsi for his victory in the presidential election,” Marzouki’s campaign manager, Adnene Mancer, wrote on his official Facebook page.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also congratulated Essebsi for winning the presidency.

Earlier, Essebsi's campaign team said initial indications showed he had won Sunday's run-off election by a clear margin over Marzouki, in an announcement that was contested by the rival campaign team of the incumbent president.

Preliminary official results have still to be released by election authorities. But his campaign manager Mohsen Marzouk said "indications" showed Essebsi had won the first free presidential election since the country's 2011 uprising.

He gave no details, but Tunisian parties often have observers at polling stations to observe preliminary counting.

But Marzouki’s campaign said the announcement was baseless.

Polls opened Sunday in the second round of Tunisia's first free presidential election, in the final leg of an at times bumpy four-year transition from dictatorship.

The voting was mired by violence early in the day when Tunisian troops killed a gunman and captured three others after they attacked soldiers guarding ballot papers for the country's presidential vote, the defense ministry said.

The pre-dawn attack targeted a school in the central region of Kairouan where the ballot papers had been stored under army guard.

"The vigilance of the soldiers and the swiftness of their response thwarted this operation and led to the death of a man armed with a hunting rifle and the arrest of three suspects," ministry spokesman Belhassan Oueslati told AFP.

The runoff pits 88-year-old favourite Essebsi, leader of the anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes party, against Marzouki, who held the post through an alliance with the moderate Islamist movement Ennahda.

Resultsof the polls are expected to be announced early next week.

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 nation has mostly avoided the post-revolt divisions troubling Libya and Egypt, but Sunday’s election has emerged as a race between a former Ben Ali official and the incumbent who claims to defend the legacy of the 2011 revolution.

Essebsi, a former parliament speaker under Ben Ali, won 39 percent of votes in the first round in November with current president Moncef Marzouki taking 33 percent of the ballots.

Essebsi, 88, dismisses critics who say he would mark a return of the old regime stalwarts. He says he is the technocrat Tunisia needs after three messy years of the Islamist-led coalition government that followed the revolt.

Marzouki, a former activist during the Ben Ali era, has painted an Essebsi presidency as a setback for the “Jasmine Revolution” that forced the former leader to flee the country into exile. But many critics tie Marzouki’s own presidency to the Islamist party’s government and its mistakes.

“We are going to get back to life now with Essebsi, and forget the disaster of the last three years of Marzouki and the Islamists,” said Fathia Ben Saleh, at an Essebsi rally in Tunis. “We don’t have any worries about democracy with Essebsi.”

Compromise has been key in Tunisian politics. Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes party managed to reach a deal with Islamist Ennahda to overcome a crisis triggered by the murder of two secular leaders last year.

Ennahda eventually stepped down at the start of this year to make way for a technocrat transitional cabinet until elections. But the Islamists remain a powerful force after winning the second largest number of seats in the new parliament.

The presidency post holds only limited powers over national defense and foreign policy. In Tunisia, the parliament, led by Essebsi's Nidaa Tounes party who won the most seats, will be key to selecting a new prime minister to lead the government.

Ennahda and the leftwing Popular Front movement - both well-organized and supported -- would be powerful opponents.

Tunisia’s new government must still tackle the threat of Islamist militants, and also potentially politically sensitive economic reforms in a country where many are still more concerned over jobs and the high cost of living.

“I won’t vote for Essebsi or Marzouki. The first was never a democrat and we know his past,” said Imed Jouini, a unemployed man at a Tunis cafe watching campaigning. “The second doesn’t know how to do anything except bury police who were killed by terrorists.”

Last Update: Monday, 22 December 2014 KSA 19:21 - GMT 16:21

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...ns-vote-in-historic-presidential-run-off.html
 

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Ben Ali regime all over again. Arabs never learn.
Lol, are you serious? laughable if true|0|

I don't really know much about Tunisia but so far they managed to go through the transition very smoothly if we compare it to countries like Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen.

In all circumstances, I which that all the mentioned countries come back on their feet again. I wish them prosperity and success. So as Palestine.*-^
 

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Lol, are you serious? laughable if true|0|

I don't really know much about Tunisia but so far they managed to go through the transition very smoothly if we compare it to countries like Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen.

In all circumstances, I which that all the mentioned countries come back on their feet again. I wish them prosperity and success. So as Palestine.*-^
Why would anyone want to go back to the same thing we had before Arab-Spring? No Arab Muslim should hope for that. They should support people who will protect Arab Muslims from foreign threats. All Arab leaders worry for are their-selves. You guys deploy so much rhetoric against Iran only now to see Jordan/Arab world are going to train Iraqi forces and have now tolerated Arab regimes. Arab leaders are composed of people who speak broken Arabic and don't bother dedicating little of their time for worship. You know what that makes them? Right.

And our people will bear punishment for tolerating such things. And you wonder why Arabs in ME prefer IS over Arab regimes.
 

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Why would anyone want to go back to the same thing we had before Arab-Spring? No Arab Muslim should hope for that. They should support people who will protect Arab Muslims from foreign threats. All Arab leaders worry for are their-selves. You guys deploy so much rhetoric against Iran only now to see Jordan/Arab world are going to train Iraqi forces and have now tolerated Arab regimes. Arab leaders are composed of people who speak broken Arabic and don't bother dedicating little of their time for worship. You know what that makes them? Right.

And our people will bear punishment for tolerating such things. And you wonder why Arabs in ME prefer IS over Arab regimes.
Im not hoping for that either. what I would like to see is stability, progress and prosperity in all Arab and Muslim countries. For that to happen it requires a lot of collective efforts by all Arab and Muslims leaders. Look at Morocco and Algeria for example, do you see any hope of cooperation? No. Qatar and Egypt are in disagreement, Syria is in civil war, Iraq is in sectarian deep shit. Palestinians parties are at each other throat. Sudan is hardly a nation, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon and the list goes on....Most are and Muslim countries are unstable. They need to get their act together first and then think about helping others. There is no other option except civil war and bloodshed and I don't think that will rectify the situation either.
 

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Im not hoping for that either. what I would like to see is stability, progress and prosperity in all Arab and Muslim countries. For that to happen it requires a lot of collective efforts by all Arab and Muslims leaders. Look at Morocco and Algeria for example, do you see any hope of cooperation? No. Qatar and Egypt are in disagreement, Syria is in civil war, Iraq is in sectarian deep shit. Palestinians parties are at each other throat. Sudan is hardly a nation, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon and the list goes on....Most are and Muslim countries are unstable. They need to get their act together first and then think about helping others. There is no other option except civil war and bloodshed and I don't think that will rectify the situation either.
And who is trying to make such efforts? Our people are crying for help. Our foothold over our own region is long gone. And no Arab leaders want to regain that. Even if we are quiet , something behind the scenes must be going on. Or we will live with no dignity/honor for next 100 years.
 

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And who is trying to make such efforts? Our people are crying for help. Our foothold over our own region is long gone. And no Arab leaders want to regain that. Even if we are quiet , something behind the scenes must be going on. Or we will live with no dignity/honor for next 100 years.
I agree, we need to prompt unity among the Arab and Muslim world and make them all forget differences and work hard to achieve our goals.

We need only a few Arab countries for now, rest can follow later.

1- GCC
2- Jordan
2- Egypt
3- Algeria
4- Morocco

All these countries are very influential, most are rich and all are very trained and armed to the teeth. Form one coalition apart from their current army personnel. Make it reach one~two million. Deploy in the surrounding Arab countries in the ME first, get hold on them, push for political stability. Move to next.
 

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I agree, we need to prompt unity among the Arab and Muslim world and make them all forget differences and work hard to achieve our goals.

We need only a few Arab countries for now, rest can follow later.

1- GCC
2- Jordan
2- Egypt
3- Algeria
4- Morocco

All these countries are very influential, most are rich and all are very trained and armed to the teeth. Form one coalition apart from their current army personnel. Make it reach one~two million. Deploy in the surrounding Arab countries in the ME first, get hold on them, push for political stability. Move to next.
In what direction do you see Qatar-GCC/Egypt axis rapprochement going? It seems like Saudi Arabia is taking leading role in this axis while giving Egypt title of leadership in Arab world. Will we see tolerance for social movements such as MB in Arab world? If not, how does this axis expect there to be unity? And what is their position on Palestine? Is it to support another war in Gaza to try putting PA back in power? I can tell you PA faces no threat from Hamas. PA faces threat 75% of population in Gaza which won't leave any of them alive if they acquire power unjustly.

Arab world needs to accept the reality of the Palestinian Resistance. It is not going anywhere. We Palestinians know what is in our best interest. We know the politics surrounding this conflict. We won't accept any resolution/initiative that is not agreed upon by all Palestinian parties. Whether you like it or not, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have much support. And they definitely must have a say in any resolution that PA submits. This is because PA has no clue what it's talking about and is forfeiting many of our rights in process which is unacceptable. And Arab cocky countries along with PA are too full of themselves that they think they can make decisions on their own behalf. They treat 75% of Palestinians as if they don't exist. Arab leaders are only in power because Israel and the West want them to. Don't think you are privileged at all, your leaders are morons. It's not hard to end your hostility to majority of Palestinian people. Once you Arabs actually stop supporting Israel and act in interests of Arab/Palestinian people is when we will have unity. Hamas will give Gaza to PA tomorrow if Arab world recognizes right of Palestinian Resistance and if PA does not interfere with the religion of our people. Islam is here to remain and the Arab people are going on right path with their righteousness.

But you people are too cocky and arrogant. Which will only increase divisions in Arab world. People have had lots of patience with you, you either start doing right things or there will be holy war very soon.

It's a shame Saddam passed away, he would have put these crooks in their place.
 

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In what direction do you see Qatar-GCC/Egypt axis rapprochement going? It seems like Saudi Arabia is taking leading role in this axis while giving Egypt title of leadership in Arab world. Will we see tolerance for social movements such as MB in Arab world? If not, how does this axis expect there to be unity? And what is their position on Palestine? Is it to support another war in Gaza to try putting PA back in power? I can tell you PA faces no threat from Hamas. PA faces threat 75% of population in Gaza which won't leave any of them alive if they acquire power unjustly.



Arab world needs to accept the reality of the Palestinian Resistance. It is not going anywhere. We Palestinians know what is in our best interest. We know the politics surrounding this conflict. We won't accept any resolution/initiative that is not agreed upon by all Palestinian parties. Whether you like it or not, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have much support. And they definitely must have a say in any resolution that PA submits. This is because PA has no clue what it's talking about and is forfeiting many of our rights in process which is unacceptable. And Arab cocky countries along with PA are too full of themselves that they think they can make decisions on their own behalf. They treat 75% of Palestinians as if they don't exist. Arab leaders are only in power because Israel and the West want them to. Don't think you are privileged at all, your leaders are morons. It's not hard to end your hostility to majority of Palestinian people. Once you Arabs actually stop supporting Israel and act in interests of Arab/Palestinian people is when we will have unity. Hamas will give Gaza to PA tomorrow if Arab world recognizes right of Palestinian Resistance and if PA does not interfere with the religion of our people. Islam is here to remain and the Arab people are going on right path with their righteousness.

But you people are too cocky and arrogant. Which will only increase divisions in Arab world. People have had lots of patience with you, you either start doing right things or there will be holy war very soon.

It's a shame Saddam passed away, he would have put these crooks in their place.

After the recent conciliation, Qatar and Egypt vowed to bridged the gap and work together against all issues that are facing our region and that includes the Palestine/Israel conflict.

Saudi Arabia isn't giving any title to anyone. Egypt has been the leader in the Arab world since ages however, due to its political and economic status of today she lost its influence and surly will be back again to play a role in the region. The MB is irrelevant, there are a minority in the Arab and Islamic world. If Arab leaders fulfill the desires of their people towards all regional issues then unity shall come to existence.

I don't really know what you mean by supporting war on Gaza! There is no Arab country/leader would ever want to see a war on Gaza.

Saudi Arabia did what it had to do so as Egypt, Jordan and Qatar. They invited both party many times and tried to mediate to bring both together. Its the PA and Hamas who refused to come to an agreement. Its not these countries who determine the fate of Palestine nor have any influence over it. Its the people of Palestine who can do that.

No one is forcing the Palestinians to accept any resolution or initiative. The current peace plan was proposed in the Arab league and was agreed upon by Palestine.

You guys are mature enough to sort this issue. You need to come to an agreement, elect a representative and you will have the support you are looking for. As of now, its very hard to support one party against the other.

Arab leaders have been here before the US and Israel came to existence.

You see the issue revolve around the Palestinian parties. Arab leaders and Arab countries have nothing to do with it. Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia have all participated in the previous war against Israel. Yet to still blame them for your shortcomings !
 

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After the recent conciliation, Qatar and Egypt vowed to bridged the gap and work together against all issues that are facing our region and that includes the Palestine/Israel conflict.

Saudi Arabia isn't giving any title to anyone. Egypt has been the leader in the Arab world since ages however, due to its political and economic status of today she lost its influence and surly will be back again to play a role in the region. The MB is irrelevant, there are a minority in the Arab and Islamic world. If Arab leaders fulfill the desires of their people towards all regional issues then unity shall come to existence.

I don't really know what you mean by supporting war on Gaza! There is no Arab country/leader would ever want to see a war on Gaza.

Saudi Arabia did what it had to do so as Egypt, Jordan and Qatar. They invited both party many times and tried to mediate to bring both together. Its the PA and Hamas who refused to come to an agreement. Its not these countries who determine the fate of Palestine nor have any influence over it. Its the people of Palestine who can do that.

No one is forcing the Palestinians to accept any resolution or initiative. The current peace plan was proposed in the Arab league and was agreed upon by Palestine.

You guys are mature enough to sort this issue. You need to come to an agreement, elect a representative and you will have the support you are looking for. As of now, its very hard to support one party against the other.

Arab leaders have been here before the US and Israel came to existence.

You see the issue revolve around the Palestinian parties. Arab leaders and Arab countries have nothing to do with it. Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia have all participated in the previous war against Israel. Yet to still blame them for your shortcomings !
Are you joking? Egypt, UAE and KSA all supported the war behind the scenes. This was already leaked many times by Israeli sources. Egyptian/Saudi media do no try to hide at all. It's hilarious how you blame Palestinian parties when it is Egypt/PA/Saudi axis that all wish to remain in power and provide Israel cover on the ground to continue its occupation. They have more diplomatic affairs with Israel than the Palestinians.

Today a Palestinian was murdered in Israeli ground incursions and aerial assault and not a single country condemned it. Egypt which is supposed to maintain cease fire has not condemned Israel at all. It will not issue any statement except when Palestinians respond. Because we Arab Zionists as our leaders.

It's a Palestinian issue? So why are you interfering in Syria? Shouldn't that be Syrian issue only?
 

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Are you joking? Egypt, UAE and KSA all supported the war behind the scenes. This was already leaked many times by Israeli sources. Egyptian/Saudi media do no try to hide at all. It's hilarious how you blame Palestinian parties when it is Egypt/PA/Saudi axis that all wish to remain in power and provide Israel cover on the ground to continue its occupation. They have more diplomatic affairs with Israel than the Palestinians.

Today a Palestinian was murdered in Israeli ground incursions and aerial assault and not a single country condemned it. Egypt which is supposed to maintain cease fire has not condemned Israel at all. It will not issue any statement except when Palestinians respond. Because we Arab Zionists as our leaders.

It's a Palestinian issue? So why are you interfering in Syria? Shouldn't that be Syrian issue only?
This serious accusations need substantial proof otherwise they remain void.

The Palestinians are not killing each other, nor innocents are being killed by either PA or Hamas. That is why these countries are calling for political solution to the current disagreement b/t PA and Hamas. The Arab league have many times called upon the two party to sort out their differences and focus on the core issue which is the Israeli occupation. Now that the European union marked off Hamas from the terror list, Hamas should take this opportunity to loud its voice inside the political arena. Instead of Hamas opposing PA resolution drafts and vis versa both should set together and try to come up with agreement to end the conflict. Why is Hamas and PA are at each throat? Even kids don't do that. Please tell both to grow up, bridge the gap and work for better Palestine. I don't really understand why you always keep blaming PA and other regional countries but never blame Hamas for not taking an effective role. Both are to be blamed for the what is going in Palestine. Be rational please.

In Syria as well, The Arab league which include all Arab countries inducing Palestine have called for political solution when the uprising began but Assad turned a blind eye to it and started shelling his people.
 

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This serious accusations need substantial proof otherwise they remain void.
Are you oblivious to everything? Or are you part of Royal Family or something? Egypt has had a horrible attitude towards the Palestinian Resistance ever since military coup. They refused to have any channel with Hamas especially regarding keeping the border open. They closed it and kept it closed. During war on Gaza they tried giving Israel opportunity for unilateral ceasefire and blamed Hamas for all Israeli violations. There were supposed to be negotiations directly after truce which Egypt cancelled and never even informed us of when it will resume. Yesterday Palestinian factions called on Egypt to resume these talks for seaport in Gaza. Absolutely no response.

Not to mention most important thing, Egypt razed all homes near Gaza and built buffer zone and enforces naval blockade with Israel. Palestinians are very short on weapons and Israel will attack soon. This is why it's trying very hard recently to provoke conflict. Now West pitched Arabs against each other. Effectively destroying Syria, while getting Assad on their side. Getting many Islamists involved in Syria who ended up getting killed. Significantly weakening them. Now they will allow Assad to regain country back. In Libya revolutionaries are being attacked. After Assad they will be attacking Hezbollah which Assad will be in on. Then that's it, there will be no force in ME that will challenge Israel. Israel will be free to target whomever it wants, free to steal all the oil/gas it wants.

Meanwhile you and your allies despise MB so much that you let Houthi's take over Yemen. Arab regimes have completely brought us back 100's of years all for sake of Washington/Israel. They get direct orders from Washington on how to deal with Gaza. And other affairs in region. These devils are destroying all our people and we will be humiliated in way never seen before if you don't start using your brains.

Nothing will protect us except miracle from God.
 
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Ennahda and the leftwing Popular Front movement - both well-organized and supported -- would be powerful opponents.
 

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2014: A year of Tunisian political success?


A young girl holds flags from a car as supporters of Tunisian newly-elected President Beji Caid Essebsi celebrate his victory on December 22, 2014 in Tunis. (AFP)​


By Asma Ajroudi | Al Arabiya News
Friday, 26 December 2014
As armed conflict and extremism plague much of the Middle East and North Africa, Tunisia is celebrating a year of success.

After almost four years of transition marked by political deadlock and violence, Tunisians this year participated in important democratic developments, welcoming 2015 with a new constitution, parliament, government and president.

Constitution
Following the ouster of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Jan. 2011, a new legislative body, the National Constituent Assembly, was elected to navigate Tunisia to parliamentary and presidential elections.

The NCA decided to draft the country’s constitution from scratch, which proved costly and time-consuming.

The Islamist Ennahda party, which held the majority of seats in the NCA, tried to pepper the text with religious references, irking secular MPs.

It was only after the assassination of opposition MP Mohammed Brahmi, which caused political deadlock followed by the resignation of the Ennahda-led government, that drafting was sped up.

Tunisian lawmakers finally passed the new constitution on Jan. 26, 2014. Domestic and international observers have hailed it as progressive, protecting freedom of speech and gender equality, establishing a decentralized system of government, and limiting the president’s executive powers.

The constitution “is one of Tunisia’s important achievements,” political analyst Noureddine Mbarki told Al Arabiya News. “It’s a consensual constitution that guarantees public and individual freedoms.”

Parliament
The new constitution granted much of the power to the 217-seat legislature, so parliamentary elections were very important for political parties wanting a stake in the upcoming government.

On Oct. 26, and for the second time since the revolution, Tunisians headed to the polls to elect the country’s legislative body for the coming five years. The frontrunner was the Nidaa Tounes party with 85 seats, followed by Ennahda with 69.

Nidaa Tounes was founded by 88-year-old veteran statesman Beji Caid Essebsi in 2012 as an alternative force to Ennahda, bringing together secular leftists, trade union leaders, businessmen, and associates of the former regimes who opposed bringing religion into state institutions.

Ennahda leader Rached al-Ghannouchi congratulated Nidaa Tounes on its electoral victory, admitted to some mistakes, but claimed credit for navigating Tunisia through a tough transition period.

President
The parliamentary election led to the presidential race, which Essebsi won in a run-off this week with 55.7% of the vote, against interim President Moncef Marzouki’s 44.3%.

Unlike in previous presidential elections where ousted Ben Ali persecuted his rivals, Tunisians this year were able to choose their favourite from a pool of 27 candidates.

“This is the first time we reach a second round,” Mbarki said. “The margin was little in the first round, and even the second round, 10% is the margin that we see in developed democratic countries.”

Essebsi won 39.46% of the votes on the Nov. 23 election, followed by Marzouki with 33.43 %.

“We used to see 90% back in the day,” said Mbarki, referring to election results under the dictatorship of Ben Ali.

“Tunisians headed to voting polls three times in eight weeks. This is the first time it happens in Tunisia’s history.”

This year saw the first female presidential candidate, Judge Kalthoum Kannou. Analysts saw her candidacy as another milestone in the revolution.

International reaction
Hailing the presidential vote, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday: “Tunisia has provided a shining example to the region and the world of what can be achieved through dedication to democracy, consensus, and an inclusive political process.”

He added: “Tunisia’s achievements this year laid the groundwork for a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future for the country.”

The European Union also offered congratulations. “Tunisians have written a historic page in the country’s democratic transition,” said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

However, the revolution is far from complete, said political analyst Sadeq Belaid: “What has been achieved... is only one stage. The old state model failed and brought about a revolution. Now we need to build a new model stone by stone.”

He added: “It’s not enough to have democratic institutions. There’s a lot of work to be done because the transition took longer than anticipated. This will take five to 10 years.”

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/spe...14-A-year-of-Tunisian-political-success-.html