Tunisia's independent election commission says election results show that a figure from the old regime will face off against a symbol of the revolution in a runoff for the presidency next month.

The commission said Tuesday that veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi took over 39 percent of the vote against 33 percent for interim president and former rights activist Moncef Marzouki.

The difference between their tallies was less than polls had predicted, meaning the December runoff could be close.

Candidates will now woo those who voted for 20 other candidates, particularly left-wing politician Hamma Hammami, who came third with nearly 8 percent.

Tunisians overthrew their dictator in 2011 and embarked on a rocky transition to democracy. Some voters support the old regime figure as a symbol of stability.