An election official writes counted votes on a board at a polling station in Tunis, Tunisia, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
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The battle for an expected runoff vote for the Tunisian presidency kicked off Monday even before first round results were in from a landmark post-Arab Spring election.Veteran anti-Islamist politician Beji Caid Essebsi, whose party placed first in a parliamentary election last month, looked set to fall short of the 50 percent threshold required to win outright, his campaign team conceded.Essebsi insisted Monday that only he could defend Tunisia against the threat of Islamist extremism.If Essebsi wins he will have to form a coalition government, even with Ennahda, because his Nidaa Tounes party fell short of securing an absolute majority in October.
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