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Tunisian presidential runoff date announced

The electoral commission in Tunisia has announced the runoff vote for the country's presidential election will be held on December 21. The cradle of the "Arab Spring" revolutions is undergoing a transition to democracy.

Tunisians are to go to the polls again on December 21 to choose between the two leading candidates for president, the country's electoral commission confirmed on Sunday.

The hopefuls for the largely-symbolic presidential post are 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi of the Nidaa Tounes (Tunisia's Call) party and interim president Moncef Marzouki of the Congress for the Republic party.

Nidaa Tounes, a secularist party, won the most votes in October's general elections. In the first round of presidential elections in November, Essebsi won the most votes. However, at 39 percent, it was not enough to win outright, which has resulted in the runoff. Marzouki won 33 percent of the votes in the first round.

Islamists won elections held in 2011 after the Arab Spring revolution which toppled longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Though Tunisia has remained relatively stable since then when compared with other "Arab Spring" nations including Syria, Egypt and Libya, the country faces economic troubles and a high unemployment rate.

se/bw (AP, dpa)

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