TUNIS - Tunisia's Dec. 21 election is the first regular presidential election since the Tunisian Revolution of 2011 and the adoption of the constitution in January.
Frontrunner Beji Caid Essebsi, a former parliament speaker under Ben Ali, won 39 percent of votes in the first round in November with current president Moncef Marzouki taking 33 percent of the ballots.
Essebsi, 88, dismissed critics who say he would mark a return of the old regime stalwarts. He says he is the technocrat Tunisia needs after three messy years of the Islamist-led coalition government that followed the revolt.
Marzouki, a former activist during the Ben Ali era, has painted an Essebsi presidency as a setback for the "Jasmine Revolution" that forced the former leader to flee the country into exile. But many critics tie Marzouki's own presidency to the Islamist party's government and its mistakes.
The head of Tunisia's Jewish community endorsed the campaign of Beji Caid Essebsi.