Tunisians elect their president in runoff election

Voting for the second round of the early presidential election has begun on Sunday, October 13 in Tunisia. Casting ballots has already begun since Friday in the six constituencies abroad to choose between the two candidates Kais Saied and Nabil Karoui who took the lead in the first round held on 15 September.

According to the results of the first round announced on September 17 by the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE), independent candidate Kais Saied obtained 620,711 votes or 18.4% of the votes cast, while the president of “Heart of Tunisia” party, Nabil Karoui, won 525,517 votes, with a percentage of 15.58.

The election campaign for the presidential runoff election began on October 3 and continued until 11 October. Faced with the very particular situation of candidate Nabil Karoui, who has been in detention since August 23,  2019, on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion, his rival Kais Saied decided not to campaign, he said, to avoid any ambiguity on equal opportunities.

The release of Nabil Karoui on October 9 ended the controversy over the failure to apply the principle of equal opportunities between the two candidates, thus allowing the organisation, for the first time in Tunisia, of a televised debate between the two contenders for the judiciary on major issues, namely: “the prerogatives of the President of the Republic in relation to parliament and the presidency of the government”, “external relations”, “national defence and security” and “public affairs”.

The number of registered voters is estimated at over seven million (including 1,500,000 new registered voters). This figure includes the 386,053 registered voters abroad. Women represent 49.5% of registered voters in Tunisia and 37.8% in constituencies abroad.

The number of polling centres in Tunisia is 4567 with 13,446 polling stations. Abroad, ISIE mobilized 303 centres and 384 polling stations. The maximum number of voters in each polling station in the territory is estimated at 600.

ISIE mobilized 55,000 agents in the polling centres and 3 members in each office while making 13,830 ballot boxes and 28,872 bottles of indelible ink available to voters.

Some 1,500 officers were responsible for controlling the financing of election campaigns. The election will be attended by 17,500 local observers and 700 foreign observers as well as 2,000 journalists.

The date of the presidential election, initially scheduled for next November, had to be advanced following the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi on 25 July 2019.

Article 84 of the Tunisian Constitution stipulates that in the event of the death of the President of the Republic, it is the President of the House of People’s Representatives who is invested with the functions of the Presidency of the Republic for a period not exceeding ninety days.


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