Tunisia's Moncef Marzouki

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Nov 2014

Interim president heads into run-off with Bieji Caed Essebsi

Moncef Marzouki
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki gestures at a polling station during Tunisia's presidential election in Sousse November 23, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Moncef Marzouki, the 69-year old interim Tunisian president and presidential candidate, is heading to a runoff against rival Bieji Caed Essebsi.

Marzouki was sworn in as president in December 2011 in the constituent assembly elections that followed the ouster of former dictator Ben Ali in the 2011 uprising.

He is the fourth president since Tunisia's independence in 1956 and the second interim president since the 2011 uprising, following the former president of the Constituent Assembly Fouad Mebazaa, who was in office from 15 January 2011 to 13 December 2011.

According to Tunisia Live, six parties have announced their support to Marzouki in the presidential elections: El-Binaa El-Watany, the Democratic Current, the Construction and Reform Party, Binaa Maghrebin, the National Movement for Justice and Development and the Congress for the Republic, Marzouki's party.

These six parties represent a total of seven seats – three for the Democratic Current and four to Marzouki's party.

Ennahda's rank and file have abandoned their support for Marzouki because the leadership of the party obliged them to do so, fearful of future relations with Nidaa.

Leader of Ennahda party Rached Ghannouchi announced on Monday that his party is remaining neutral and not backing any candidate.

However, he mentioned that the party might adjust its stance in the second round of the presidential elections, Egypt's state-run news agency MENA reported.

Marzouki's Congress for the Republic Party (CFR) joined an Ennahda-led coalition – in addition to the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties Party (Ettakatol) – after the post Ben-Ali constituent assembly elections in 2011.

Tunisians voted Sunday in the first presidential election since the 2011 uprising, the first democratic presidential polls in the country's history.

Exit polls conducted by a private organisation gave Essebsi between 42.7 percent and 47.8 percent of the vote, with Marzouki trailing between 26.9 percent and 32.6 percent, according AFP.

Essebsi, whose Nidaa Party won the majority in the latest parliamentary elections, was head of parliament in Ben Ali's party at the beginning of the dictator's rule.
 

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