Obama hails `milestone` Tunisia vote

Barack Obama hailed a milestone after Tunisians voted Sunday in an election seen as pivotal to establishing democracy, in what the US president called a "historic political transition."

Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring uprisings, has been held up as a beacon of hope compared with other chaos-hit countries like Libya and Egypt, where regimes were also toppled.

"On behalf of all Americans, I congratulate the people of Tunisia on the democratic election of a new parliament -- an important milestone in Tunisia`s historic political transition," Obama said in a statement.

"In casting their ballots today, Tunisians continued to inspire people across their region and around the world, as they did during Tunisia`s 2011 revolution and with the adoption of a new constitution earlier this year."

More than five million Tunisians were eligible to elect a 217-seat parliament, after an interim body drafted a new constitution in January as part of the country`s path to democracy

Obama added: "Tunisia`s example reminds us all that dialogue, consensus-building, political pluralism, and peaceful assembly help form the bedrock of democracy.

"The United States reaffirms its commitment to supporting democracy in Tunisia, to our continued friendship with the people of Tunisia, and to partnering with the next government as it works to promote economic opportunity, protect freedom, and ensure security for all Tunisians."


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