Tunisians were to vote on Sunday in a presidential election, largely expected to be another landslide victory for the incumbent president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Elections will also be held to select members of parliament.
There are three opposition candidates on the ballot, among them Mohamed Bouchiha, the general secretary of People’s Unity Party, and Ahmed Inoubli for the Unionist Democratic Union, and Ahmed Brahim, the head of Ettajdid Movement.
The 73-year-old president has run the North African country for more than two decades. He won the last presidential election in 2004 with more than 94 percent of the vote.
Some international rights groups have accused the government of ensuring victory for Ben Ali by harassing the opposition.
In a televised address on Saturday, however, the president responded to critics, saying actions will be taken against those spreading doubts or accusations about the integrity of the election without providing proof.
“I am convinced that when you go to the polls and exercise your right to choose, you will place, with freedom and conviction, Tunisia’s interest and future above all other considerations,” he said.