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Tunisian presidential runoff set for Dec 21 after challenges to previous round rejected


TUNIS, Tunisia — The head of Tunisia's electoral commission says the runoff for the presidential election will be held on Dec. 21.

Chafik Sarsar told local Shems FM radio that a court had dismissed challenges to the previous round as minor and wouldn't have affected the final results.

The runoff pits 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi, a minister and parliamentary speaker under previous presidents, against outgoing interim president Moncef Marzouki — a veteran rights activist.

Essebsi's party, Nida Tunis, won the most seats in October's legislative election and he received the most votes, 39 percent, in the Nov. 23 first round of presidential elections.

Islamists won elections in 2011 after the Arab Spring revolution, but were unable to bring the prosperity and stability people demanded. They came in second in legislative elections.

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