Tepid Turnout Clouds Landmark Tunisia Presidential Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Tunisians trickled to the polls Sunday, with only about 16% casting ballots by early afternoon, despite a choice of two-dozen candidates -- a sign of deep political apathy and frustration in the Arab Spring’s birthplace.

Tepid Turnout Clouds Landmark Tunisia Presidential Vote

The low participation reported by authorities comes as the North African nation’s voters face an unprecedented range of contenders, from a jailed tycoon to an avuncular ex-Islamist. The turnout figure contrasted sharply with final turnout of about 60% in the 2014 presidential election.

Eight years after Tunisia’s revolt upended the Middle East, it’s a dispiriting situation for the fledgling democracy, where political bickering and sporadic militant attacks have stymied efforts to revive the economy and enact enduring changes.

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