, TUNIS, Oct 26 – Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with 89.62 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections for a fifth term in office after two decades in power, according to final results released Monday by the interior ministry.
The results from all of the north African country’s 26 constituencies showed Ben Ali’s score ranging from 84.16 to 93.88 percent of the vote. But he did even better among overseas voters who gave him a whopping 94.85 percent.
Ben Ali’s little known rivals trailed far behind, with two candidates close to the government, Mohamed Bouchiha and Ahmed Inoubli, getting around five and 3.8 percent respectively.
The only real opposition candidate, Ahmed Brahim, came in last with 1.57 percent of the vote.
In the parliamentary election, Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party won 161 of the 214 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, with the remaining 53 to be divided proportionally between six of the eight competing parties.
Ben Ali, 73, ousted Tunisia’s first elected president since independence from France, Habib Bourguiba, for senility in 1987. At every vote since then, his opponents have cried fraud over the staggering scale of Ben Ali’s win.
In the last elections in 2004, Ben Ali was returned to office with 94.4 percent of the vote, while his RCD won an overwhelming majority in parliament.
After ruling the north African country for 22 years, Ben Ali faces a difficult economic climate in spite of prudent financial management.
Ben Ali vowed to elevate Tunisia to the rank of developed countries, and he has committed himself during his next mandate to reducing an unemployment rate of 14 percent.
Tunisia has been commended for its "solid economic foundations" and "real efforts at modernisation" by the International Monetary Fund, but the army in 2008 had to put down unemployment riots in a mining region.