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Tunisia's new president to be sworn in

30 December 2014, 06:55

Tunis - Newly elected Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi will be sworn in Wednesday at a ceremony in parliament, which is dominated by his anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes party, officials said.

The election of Essebsi, an 88-year-old who served under previous regimes, is seen as a landmark for the birthplace of the Arab Spring that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali four years ago.

His victory over incumbent Moncef Marzouki rounded off Tunisia's transition to democracy and has won praise from Western leaders.

On Monday, the electoral committee confirmed that Essebsi took 55.68% of the vote in a 21 December run-off against Marzouki.

After Essebsi is sworn in, Marzouki will formally hand over power to him at the presidential palace in Carthage, a suburb of Tunis.

Essebsi, an anti-Islamist lawer, has insisted that Tunisia had definitely turned a page on the past and would look to the future rather than the past.

But Marzouki, a 69-year-old former rights activists, said he was creating a new movement to prevent the North African nation sliding back into authoritarian rule.

Marzouki was installed as president by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which was in power after the revolution.

Ennahda came second in the October parliamentary polls and has not ruled out joining a governing coalition.

The presidential vote was the first time Tunisians have freely elected their head of state since independence in 1956.



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