Beji Caid Essebsi, leader of the Nidaa Tounes, speaks during a meeting at a campaign event in Tunis October 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Anis Mili)
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Beji Caid Essebsi, an 87-year-old pillar of Tunisian politics under the country's first president and his dictatorial successor, is making a comeback after his Nidaa Tounes party won Sunday's parliamentary election.But while Essebsi served as premier after the 2011 overthrow of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and led the country toward free elections, his detractors accuse this member of the erstwhile inner circle of wanting to take Tunisia back to the old ways.When Ben Ali stepped down on Jan. 14, 2011 and fled into exile, Prime Minister Mohammad Ghannouchi declared himself president.Ghannouchi remained premier for another six weeks, before Mebazaa called on Essebsi to replace him and head an interim government until elections for a constituent assembly were held.Three years later, Nidaa Tounes emerged as the winner in parliamentary elections, with Ennahda coming in a close second.
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