World

Tunisians vote in their nation's first free-and-open election for president

  • A woman walks past a wall plastered with electoral campaign posters two days before the first round of the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Tunisia's presidential election represents the final phase in a torturous and difficult transition to democracy since Tunisians overthrew Ben Ali in January 2011 — sparking the Arab Spring protests that ousted autocrats across the Middle East.  (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

    A woman walks past a wall plastered with electoral campaign posters two days before the first round of the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Tunisia's presidential election represents the final phase in a torturous and difficult transition to democracy since Tunisians overthrew Ben Ali in January 2011 — sparking the Arab Spring protests that ousted autocrats across the Middle East. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tunisian women walk past a wall plastered with electoral campaign posters two days before the first round of the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Tunisia's presidential election represents the final phase in a torturous and difficult transition to democracy since Tunisians overthrew Ben Ali in January 2011 — sparking the Arab Spring protests that ousted autocrats across the Middle East.  (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

    Tunisian women walk past a wall plastered with electoral campaign posters two days before the first round of the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Tunisia's presidential election represents the final phase in a torturous and difficult transition to democracy since Tunisians overthrew Ben Ali in January 2011 — sparking the Arab Spring protests that ousted autocrats across the Middle East. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman walks past a wall plastered with electoral campaign posters two days before the first round of the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Tunisia's presidential election represents the final phase in a torturous and difficult transition to democracy since Tunisians overthrew Ben Ali in January 2011 — sparking the Arab Spring protests that ousted autocrats across the Middle East.  (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

    A woman walks past a wall plastered with electoral campaign posters two days before the first round of the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Tunisia's presidential election represents the final phase in a torturous and difficult transition to democracy since Tunisians overthrew Ben Ali in January 2011 — sparking the Arab Spring protests that ousted autocrats across the Middle East. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)  (The Associated Press)

Tunisians have lined up at polling stations to vote in their North African country's first free and open presidential election.

Sunday's vote marks the long awaited completion of a rocky transition to democracy after Tunisians electrified the region by overthrowing dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, kicking off the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings.

The front runner among the nearly two dozen presidential candidates is 87-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi, a veteran politician from the previous regime who has gained people support with talk of a return to stability after years of economic and political turmoil.

If no candidate gains an outright majority, the vote will go to a run off held in one month.

Alone among the countries of the Arab Spring, Tunisia's transition has remained on track.