Beji Caid Essebsi, 88, won the Tunisian presidential election today, December 22, 2014. Essebsi defeated the 69-year-old incumbent Moncef Marzouki. The win is seen as “the final step to full democracy nearly four years after an uprising ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali” (1987-2011). Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Ben Ali, are living in exile in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Although Marzouki insists that an Essebsi win would mark the return of Tunisia’s old guard, US President Barack Obama hailed the vote as “a vital step toward the completion of Tunisia’s momentous transition to democracy.”