Tunisia's Parliament, looking to the past, chooses secular 80-year-old as new chief

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Tunisia's new Parliament has chosen a leader — an 80-year-old from a secular party who spent decades in politics under autocratic regimes.

The country's first permanent legislature since a popular uprising in 2011 elected Mohamed Ennaceur of the Nida Tunis party as its president Thursday. A member of the Islamist opposition was chosen as his No. 2.

Tunisia's uprising sparked revolt across the Arab world, and the country is now finalizing its rocky transition to democracy.

Ennaceur served under Tunisia's first president after independence from France, and is seen as a compromise candidate and experienced technocrat.

In October parliamentary elections, Nida Tunis won the most seats on an explicitly anti-Islamist platform. Its 88-year-old leader is the front runner in a presidential election runoff this month.