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Tunisia Revises Voting Ban on Former Ruling Party

Tunisian interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi addresses reporters during a press conference held at the presidential palace in Carthage, outside Tunis, March 7, 2011

Tunisia's interim prime minister has announced a revised plan that will bar officials who served in the former ruling party from running or voting in July elections, after a broader ban drew protests.

Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi announced the plan on Tuesday. It would prevent the senior members of the now dissolved RCD (Rally for Constitutional Democracy) party from taking part in the July 24 polling if they served in the party within the past decade.

Earlier this month, hundreds of supporters of ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's RCD party protested against a plan that would have barred officials who served at any point during Ben Ali's 23-year rule from voting.

Former RCD members who took part in the protests argued the measure was unfair because they were all Tunisians.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after mass anti-government protests in January led to his resignation.

In March interim president Fouad Mebazaa announced the July polling in which voters will elect a council that will rewrite the constitution and chart the country's post-revolution transition.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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