TUNIS, Tunisia, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Tunisia will hold a presidential runoff election on Dec. 21, the national electoral commission announced.
Neither of the two leading candidates, former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebi of the secular Nidaa Tounes party nor dissident leader and interim President Moncef Marzouki secured a majority in the Nov. 23 election.
Essebi had a six-point lead over Marzouki in the first round, with 39 percent of the vote to the interim leader's 33 percent.
The Nidaa Tounes party, an alliance of liberals, secularists and former government leaders, was formed in response to the post-revolution actions of the Ennahda party in power. Nidaa Tournes has been critical of the Islamist drift of the country and has called for a progressive and secular society in Tunisia.
With a tight race expected, both Essebi and Marzouki are seeking endorsements from fellow presidential candidates who did not succeed past the first round. More than 25 candidates competed in the November election.
Free Patriotic Union leader Slim Riahi, who came in fifth during the first round, has declared his support for Essebi.
The Islamist Ennahda movement, meanwhile, said Sunday it has not yet decided which candidate to back. "Ennahda will continue reassessing its position in the first round of the vote, given the importance of the election and the critical nature of the current phase," Fathi al-Ayadi, the head of Ennahda's Consultative Council, said at a press conference in Nabeul.
The November election marked the North African country's first free and democratic election.