People in Tunisia began casting votes

People in Tunisia began casting votes in an unpredictable presidential election where there is no overwhelming front-runner. Tunisia's economic ills dominates the agenda.

Polling stations opened at 8am (0700 GMT).

Tunisians managed to get rid off the autocratic rule eight years ago in a revolution that inspired the so called “Arab Spring” revolts in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria. Tunisia was perhaps the only country to enjoy a relative smooth, peaceful transition to democracy.

The two candidates who got more attention (altough for different reasons) are moderate Islamist Ennahda party and media mogul Nabil Karoui, running from jail on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion. Accusations he denies.

A court on Friday ruled he must stay behind bars after his arrest last month.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, as well as two former prime ministers, a former president and the defence minister are also among the 26 candidates hoping to win outright or, if none of them win more than 50%, to advance to a second round run-off.