Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with 89.62 per cent of the vote in yesterday's elections for a fifth term in office after two decades in power, according to final results released today by the interior ministry. The results from all of the north African country's 26 constituencies showed Mr Ben Ali's score ranging from 84.16 to 93.88 per cent of the vote. But he did even better among overseas voters who gave him a whopping 94.85 per cent.
Mr 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 per cent respectively. In the parliamentary election, Mr 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.
Mr 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 Mr Ben Ali's win. After ruling the north African country for 22 years, Mr Ben Ali faces a difficult economic climate in spite of prudent financial management. Mr 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 per cent.