Campaigning wraps up ahead of Tunisia`s landmark elections

Campaigning closes in Tunisia two days before its first democratic elections, as the birthplace of the Arab Spring celebrated the fall of its latest victim, Libya`s Muammar Gaddafi.

Tunis: Campaigning closes in Tunisia on Friday,
two days before its first democratic elections, as the
birthplace of the Arab Spring celebrated the fall of its
latest victim, Libya`s Muammar Gaddafi.

"It`s over!" the French-language Le Quotidien screamed on
its front page splashed with a picture of the dictator
captured and killed nine months after Tunisians sparked a
region-wide revolt by ousting their own strongman, Zine el
Abidine Ben Ali.

More than seven million eligible voters have a final
chance to hear the main parties` election promises at closing
rallies planned countrywide today.

Campaigning closes at midnight, with a formerly banned
Islamist party poised to dominate a 217-member assembly that
will rewrite the constitution and pave the way for a new
government.

Despite the proximity of the historic polls, newspapers
in the capital dedicated their front pages to Gaddafi`s death
yesterday at the hands of fighters of the new regime in an
assault on his hometown Sirte.

They published grim photographs of his bloodied corpse,
and stressed that the focus must now be on building a
democratic Libya.

"The Tunisian experience currently under way could be a
source of inspiration and of encouragement for the Libyan
people," the French-language La Presse daily editorialised.

"Two peoples who suffered decades of oppression are today
free. Both will benefit from working together to preserve this
reclaimed freedom and to entrench it in democratic
institutions, barring forever the possibility of dictatorship
returning."

Ben Ali met a less gruesome fate than that of his
neighbour, bowing to a popular uprising against poverty and
corruption under his rule and fleeing to Saudi Arabia in
January.

Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi urged Tunisians
yesterday to vote "without fear" and sought to give assurances
that the poll will be fair.

PTI

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