Tunisia sets presidential elections for 23 June

AP , Sunday 14 Oct 2012

Islamist Ennahda party fires back at criticism that it is trying to hold onto power by announcing presidential and legislative elections to be held soon

Tunisian leader and founder of the moderate islamist party Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi chairs an executive board at the party's headquarters in Tunis (Photo: AP)

Tunisia's government says it has agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections on 23 June next year, a move meant to end criticism that the Islamist party that heads the ruling coalition is trying to keep a hold on power.

The agreement published on the website of moderate Islamist Ennahda party sets out the political roadmap for the country, which has been ruled by interim governments since dictator Ben Ali was overthrown in January 2011.

The three ruling parties agreed that a president will be chosen directly by voters. A presidential runoff is scheduled for 7 July.

Ennahda wanted a parliamentary system, but compromised by agreeing to a system that balances lawmakers' power with the president. The agreement must be approved by the Constituent Assembly, the current parliament.

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