Essebsi, the former interim prime minister and leader of the Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunisia) secular party, announced his victory soon after polls closed. The official results of the election haven’t yet been released.
Moncef Marzouki, the incumbent president and Essebsi’s rival, has refused to admit defeat. “Nothing is confirmed so far,” said Marzouki’s campaign manager Adnen Monsar, according to Al Jazeera. He pointed out that the result was too close to call.
The police had to use tear gas to disperse protesters who took to the streets to denounce Essebsi’s declaration of victory.
The voter turnout was 59.04 percent, according to the Tunisian election officials cited by The Guardian. The newspaper also notes that the election day was marred by violence as one gunman was killed and three were captured by the security forces during an attack on a polling station in the central Kairouan Governorate.
Reuters also notes that the Nidaa Tounes party had already secured control of the parliament during the legislative elections in October.