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Catalonia's president Artur Mas was placed under investigation on Monday for holding a banned vote on whether his region should be independent from Spain. The Catalonia High Court said that Mas was under judicial investigation for flouting a injunction against holding the symbolic vote on November 9. An injunction by Spain's Constitutional Court had forced Mas to water down his plan for an official vote. The Catalan government says 2.3 million people took part in the vote on November 9.
Veteran anti-Islamist politician Beji Caid Essebsi was declared the winner of Tunisia's first free presidential election on Monday, capping off the transition to democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Essebsi, an 88-year-old former official in previous Tunisian regimes, took 55.68 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Moncef Marzouki in Sunday's run-off, the electoral commission said. The vote was seen as a landmark for democracy in Tunisia, which sparked the Arab Spring mass revolutions with the 2011 ouster of longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The campaign was bitter and divisive, with Marzouki insisting a win for Essebsi would mark the return of Tunisia's old guard of ruling elites.