Polls close in Tunisia's historic presidential run-off elections. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Polling stations across Tunisia closed on Sunday (December 21), marking the end of a presidential run-off election that completes the country's transition to full democracy nearly four years after an uprising which ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. The polls closed at 6 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) and election workers began counting votes and collecting papers. In the first round of voting in November, the frontrunner Beji Caid Essebsi, a former Parliament Speaker under Ben Ali, won 39 percent of votes, while the current President Moncef Marzouki took 33 percent of the ballots. On Sunday, polling opened at 8 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) with a heavy security presence at voting stations around the capital Tunis. Voters were seen queuing outside many polling stations throughout the day. With a new progressive constitution and a full parliament elected in October, Tunisia is hailed as an example of democratic change for a region still struggling with the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. The North African nation avoided the bitter post-revolt divisions troubling Libya and Egypt, but Sunday's election is between a former Ben Ali official and the incumbent who claims to defend the legacy of the 2011 revolution. Official preliminary results were not expected until Monday (December 22).