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Anti-Islamist candidate Beji Caid Essebsi has claimed victory in Tunisia's first free presidential election but bitter rival and incumbent Moncef Marzouki dismissed the declaration as unfounded and refused to concede defeat. Tunisians took to the polls on Sunday for the leadership runoff vote, with many calling the ballot a landmark for democracy in the country where the Arab Spring was born. Essebsi, 88, appeared before 2,000 supporters who gathered outside his campaign headquarters shouting "Long live Tunisia!" and thanked the voters. "Tunisia needs all its children.