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Tunisia: Two outsiders to contest presidential runoff poll

Tunisia’s electoral commission has confirmed that a law professor Kais Saied and detained media mogul Nabil Karoui will contest the presidential run-off vote.

They are the two candidates out of the 26 that contested this month’s first round of votes who emerged top.

According to the independent electoral commission Saied won 18.4% of votes and Karoui 15.6%.

Abdelfattah Mourou of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party came third with 12.9%.

In the first round a candidate needed a majority of votes to win the election.

But since none of them won more than 50% a second round run-off has become necessary.

Tunisia’s electoral commission has said that Karoui can stay in the race so long as he has not been convicted.

He has been in detention since last month accused of tax evasion and money laundering charges. There is no date set for a verdict though.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed who also contested the elections said on Sunday that “We received the message sent by the Tunisian people,” as he conceded defeat.

Sunday’s vote was the second time Tunisia was holding a free presidential election since 2011 when an uprising toppled ex-president Ben Ali.

Former President Essebsi won Tunisia’s first free presidential elections in 2014.  He died at 92 this year – at the time the oldest sitting president in the world.

Parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur is currently acting as interim president. Meanwhile parliamentary elections will take place on October 6.


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