Tunisians cast their votes for a new parliament in the second free election since the fall of dictator Ben Ali during 2011's Arab Spring. Vanessa Johnston reports.
Tunisians cast their votes for a new parliament Sunday. It's the second free election since an uprising cast out autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali almost four years ago. This 88-year-old woman says she's voting for her country as much as for her candidate. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 88-YEAR-OLD WOMAN VOTING FOR SECOND TIME, MS. CHERIFA, SAYING: "I am here to vote for the success and for the sake of Tunisia. I came for Tunisia. With God's blessing I hope that the one who has to win, will win." Presidential candidate, Beji Caid Essebsi, arrives at the polling station. His secular alliance party and the moderate Islamist party are favored to win the most seats. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEADER OF NIDAA TOUNES POLITICAL PARTY AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, BEJI CAID ESSEBSI, SAYING: "I thank God that we have arrived to such a day when we can vote, and that the Tunisian people are all invited to participate in this operation. It proves that Tunisia is steadily going on the right track, despite some obstacles." Tunisia has fared better than its neighbors following 2011's Arab Spring, when several countries in the region ousted long-ruling leaders. It has largely avoided the polarization between competing desires for Islamist and more secular rule. Now, in a country heavily dependent on foreign tourism, voters' main concerns are the economy... ...and keeping Islamist militants at bay.