Tunisians vote in the second round of a presidential election on Sunday, capping off four years of a sometimes chaotic transition since their country sparked the Arab Spring. Incumbent Moncef Marzouki faces political veteran Beji Caid Essebsi in the vote – the first time Tunisians will be allowed to freely elect their president since independence from France in 1956. It was protests in Tunisia and the 2011 ouster of long-time ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali that set off the chain of revolts that saw several Arab dictators toppled by citizens demanding democratic reforms. From Egypt and Libya to Syria and Yemen, violent unrest followed. But Tunisia has largely avoided the bloodshed that has plagued other Arab Spring states, and its citizens are feeling hopeful ahead of the run-off vote.
“We hope the transition will be over, that the elections will be honest,” said 29-year-old student Anissa Yahyaoui. “I hope that everyone will go vote and everything will go well.”
Major challenges remain for Tunisia. The small North African nation’s economy is struggling to recover from the upheaval of the revolution and there are fears that widespread joblessness will cause social unrest.
A nascent jihadist threat has also emerged, with militant groups long suppressed under Ben Ali carrying out several attacks including the killings of two anti-Islamist politicians.
Full Article: Tunisia heads to the polls to cap off revolution | News24.