Second round of Tunisian presidential elections begins



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Second round of Tunisian presidential elections begins



TUNISIANS on Sunday elect a new president in the second round of elections, with a nearly unknown constitutional law professor, with no experience in power, and a businessman prosecuted for tax fraud and released from prison four days before the second round.

More than seven million voters turn out to vote for the third time in a month in a hectic atmosphere, for the second direct presidential election since the 2011 revolution.



Around 4500 polling stations across the country open at 8am (9am CET) and close at 6pm.

In the first round, held on September 15, all senior officials were swept away from the scene, with constitutional law expert Kais Seyed (61) erupting, receiving 18.4 percent of the vote by mobilizing young people by highlighting the ideals of the 2011 revolution.

Opposite him is media magnate Nabil Karui, 56, a political insider but at odds with much of the country's leadership. He ran a campaign focused on the poorest through his television channel, winning 15.6 percent of the vote.

The death of Bedzia President Kaid Esebsi in July has accelerated the holding of elections, but Tunisia has been keeping pace with election calculations for months. Since June, the government has been trying to adopt a contentious amendment to the electoral law that would prevent Karuya from competing.

Negotiations on a new government

Karui, the subject of an investigation into tax fraud and money laundering since 2017, ended up in jail on August 23rd. The date and circumstances of the arrest have raised allegations that the policy has instrumentalized the judiciary.

Wanting to be fair to Carui, who could not campaign from prison, Seyed withdrew from the field for a while, and the campaign actually lasted only two days, Thursday and Friday, while Saturday was a day of election silence.

The elections are in the midst of negotiations to form a new government, a week after the parliamentary elections in which the Islam-dominated Ennahdha-dominated parliament was elected but which, by and large, does not have a majority (52 seats out of 217).

Karui's Kalb Tunes party is in second place with 38 MPs.

The two major parties have said they will not coalition, but others have only a handful of MPs.

Parliament has two months to agree, and the future president, who is expected to be sworn in by the end of October, will intervene in the event of a blockade.

Long political instability could further undermine the democratic transition in a country that has managed to curb the terrorist threat but has been hit by inflation and high unemployment.

Second round of Tunisian presidential elections begins

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