Ben Ali elected for fifth term

TUNISIA’S president has been re-elected for a fifth five-year term with 89.62% of the vote, the country’s interior ministry announced yesterday.

It was the lowest percentage of the vote by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali since he took power in a bloodless coup in 1987.

Ben Ali was last re-elected in 2004 with more than 94% of votes – a drop from his previous victories, which fluctuated between 99.2% and 99.7%.

Runner-up Mohamed Bouchiha won 5.01% of the vote and Ahmed Inoubli 3.80%, but both were viewed as largely cosmetic opposition.

The third candidate, Ahmed Brahim of the Ettajdid, or “change” movement, scored 1.57% of the vote.

“At least, we’ve established the existence of a credible opposition movement in Tunisia,” Brahim said. He declined to comment on his score.

The results, which included results from Tunisians voting abroad, were announced by Interior Minister Rafik Haj Kacem.

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