Editor's note: Voting in Tunisia's presidential runoff was largely pronounced free and fair, reports the Associated Press, with a participation rate of 60 percent. The election of 88-year-old former government minister Beji Caid Essebsi completes the democratic transition following events in 2011 that set off what became known as the Arab Spring. - Tricia
Tunisia (US /tuːˈniːʒə/ too-NEE-zhə or UK /tjuːˈnɪziə/ tew-NIZ-i-ə; Arabic: تونس Tūnis pronounced [ˈtuːnɪs]; French: Tunisie; Berber: ⵜⵓⵏⴻⵙ), officially the Tunisian Republic (though often referred to in English as the Republic of Tunisia; Arabic: الجمهورية التونسية al-Jumhūriyyah at-Tūnisiyyah; French: République tunisienne; Berber: ⵜⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷⴰ ⵏ ⵜⵓⵏⴻⵙ); is the northernmost country in Africa and, at almost 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi) in area, the smallest country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. As of 2013, its population is estimated at just under 10.8 million. Its name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, located on the country's northeast coast.
Geographically, Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert. Much of the rest of the country's land is fertile soil. Its 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline includes the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin and, by means of the Sicilian Strait and Sardinian Channel, features the African mainland's second and third nearest points to Europe after Gibraltar.
Tunisia has an association agreement with the European Union and is a member of La Francophonie, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League and the African Union. Close relations with Europe – in particular, with France – have been forged through economic cooperation, privatisation and industrial modernization.
In 2011, a revolution resulted in the overthrow of the autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali followed by the country's first free elections. Since then, Tunisia has been consolidating democracy.