Politics & Economics

Tunisia: Candidates Intensify Campaigns Days Before Election Silence

North Africa

The Independent High Elections Committee in Tunisia has confirmed that the presidential elections will take place on 15 September.

The Independent High Elections Committee is also distributing the materials necessary to run the elections, along with the cooperation of the national army, which is providing logistical support.  There are approximately 7 million eligible voters in Tunisia and so thousands of polling stations have been set up so that everyone is able to access them and participate.

There are 26 candidates taking part in the presidential elections, which are the second of its kind since the 2011 Revolution and ousting of longtime former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Campaigns were launched at the start of September as the candidates touched upon several political and social issues. Nevertheless, the President in Tunisia, according to the Constitution following the Revolution of 2011, is technically only responsible for the country’s foreign policy, defence and national security.

The most prominent figures to take part in these elections include Youssef Chahed, the current Prime Minister, Abdelkarim Zbidi, the current Defence Minister, and Abdelfattah Mourou, the Vice President of Ennahda Party.

The presidential elections were set to take place in November, however they were brought forward to September as former President Beji Caid Essebsi died at the age of 92 in July. Essebsi was the first person to be victorious in a democratic election in Tunisia in 2014, representing the Nidaa Tounes party. As per the Constitution, the new President has to be chosen within 90 days.

It is predicted that no party will obtain a majority in the Parliament, which would lead to a second round of voting.

Data released by the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) show that there will be a strong contingent of women and youth voters, who participated heavily in the 2011 Revolution. Initiatives are being run by grassroots organise to facilitate the participation of women and marginalised groups living in rural areas who do not have sufficient access to and awareness of the electoral process.