Tunisia's Ben Ali wins landslide election victory

18:28, October 26, 2009      

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Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila (L) greet a woman as they arrive to cast their ballots in Tunis October 25, 2009.(Xinhua/Agencies Photo)

Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has seized a strong lead over three other candidates in Sunday's presidential election, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

The final results released by the Interior Ministry showed that Ben Ali took the lead by garnering 89.62 percent of the vote, securing a fifth term in office after two decades in power.

Mohamed Bouchiha, General Secretary of People's Unity Party, and Ahmed Inoubli, the candidate of Unionist Democratic Union, gained 5 percent and 3.8 percent of the vote respectively, while Ahmed Brahim, head of Ettajdid Movement, won 1.57 percent, according to the Interior ministry.

About 4,737,367 voters registered for the presidential and parliamentary elections in the North African country of 10 million.

Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila (L) greet supporters in Tunis October 25, 2009.(Xinhua/Agencies Photo)

The turnout of Tunisians at home was put at 89.40 percent, while the participation of Tunisians abroad rose to 90.25 percent, according to the figures.

Ben Ali came into power in 1987 when doctors declared his predecessor Habib Bourguiba senile and unable to continue his duties. The head of state won the last election five years ago with 94.4 percent of the vote.

Commentators said the 73-year-old president took credit for making the country the most competitive economy in the region due to its reforms and flexible laws.

Tunisia has North Africa's biggest middle class with more than two-thirds of households owning homes. A fifth of the population owns a car, up from a tenth two decades ago. Access to schools and basic health care is available to all.

Source: Xinhua
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