December 22, 2014 / 7:12 PM / 5 years ago

EU foreign policy boss determined to work with new Tunisian leader

Beji Caid Essebsi (C), Nidaa Tounes party leader, gestures outside the party headquarters in Tunis December 21, 2014. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is determined to work with the new Tunisian authorities and reinforce democratic progress, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday in a message of congratulations to the nation’s newly-elected president.

Beji Caid Essebsi won the country’s first free presidential election, official results showed on Monday, the final step in a transition to democracy after an uprising that ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

But rioting broke out in one southern city, with police firing teargas to disperse hundreds of youths who burned tyres and blocked streets to demonstrate against the victory of an official from Ben Ali’s old guard.

“The European Union remains determined to work with the new Tunisian authorities and all levels of society,” Mogherini said. The aim, she added, is to deliver democratic progress and economic and social reforms.

Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Dominic Evans

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