Politics & Economics

How Can Legal Problems Arise Around the Tunisian Elections?


The Administrative Court in Tunisia has rejected six appeals made against the results of the first round of the presidential elections.

The results of the first round of the presidential elections in Tunisia were announced last week when two candidates, Kais Said and Nabil Karoui, who do not belong to any of the political parties in contention made it to the run-off stage. Said, a constitutional lawyer by profession, came out on top with 18.4% of the vote and Karoui, who is known as a media mogul currently in jail, came in second position with 15.6% in the polls. Candidates presented by the main political parties in the country, including Ennahda and Long Live Tunisia, were defeated by the two aforementioned candidates, who were considered to be outsiders.

The demands to appeal the elections results of the first round were made by Seifeddine Makhlouf, Abdelkrim Zbidi, Slim Riahi, Neji Jalloul, Hatem Boulabiar and Youssef Chahed, but were rejected on different grounds. Some appeals were made on the grounds that the successful candidates took advantage of political publicity while the other accusation levied against the candidates was that they violate the rules of election campaigning.

Observers state that if the appeals had been accepted by the Administrative Court, it would have unleashed grave political consequences. The two successful candidates are considered to be individuals outside of the mainstream political system, while those who made the appeals are seen to be part of the current political regime. Successful appeals made on the part of the latter may have led to public grievances since the two candidates outside of the political mainstream received the highest proportion of votes.

One major legal hurdle remains to be resolved. The current constitution does not account for the victory of a candidate who is in jail. A victory for Nabil Karoui in the second round would thus lead to a legal issue with no set precedent or solution embedded in the constitution. Nevertheless, there is an Article in the constitution, Article 87, which refers to the immunity of the President, which may be enforced either

The second round of the elections is set to take place on either 6 or 13 October.