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Published: Friday June 13, 2014 MYT 11:15:02 PM
Updated: Friday June 13, 2014 MYT 11:15:02 PM

Tunisia to hold parliamentary then presidential elections this year

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia is set to hold separate parliamentary and presidential elections at the end of the year after political parties resolved a dispute over the election date on Friday, political sources told Reuters.

Tunisia's national assembly approved a new electoral law in May to help the country move to full democracy after the 2011 uprising that inspired the "Arab Spring" revolts.

Boussairi Bou Abdeli, a politician who participated in a dialogue between the parties, told Reuters they had "agreed to hold parliamentary before presidential (elections) this year". Another source confirmed the agreement.

Whether the presidential and parliamentary elections should be held separately or together was the last point of disagreement between the Islamists and secularists.

The agreement allows electoral authorities to set an official date for the first election since the North African state adopted a new constitution that has been praised as a model of democratic transition in the Arab world.

The elections will probably be held at the end of October or in November, the election agency chief Chafik Sarsar told Reuters in an interview last month.

With its new constitution and a caretaker administration governing until elections later this year, Tunisia's relatively smooth progress contrasts with the turmoil in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, which also ousted long-standing leaders three years ago.

Islamist party Ennahda won the first free election after former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's fall and formed the first government, but the assassination of two secular opposition leaders triggered a political crisis.

(The story was refiled to fix garble caused by technical difficulties)

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Catherine Evans and Sonya Hepinstall)

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