Politics & Economics

Tunisia prepares for upcoming elections as main parties present their candidates

North Africa

Several candidates, both incumbents and challengers, have put their names forward for the upcoming presidential elections in Tunisia.

As the deadline to announce a presidential election campaign in Tunisia approaches, a flurry of latecomers have put their names forward, following dozens of prominent figures who have done so already. Amongst these candidates is the current Head of Government Youssef Chahed, belonging to Tahya Tounes (Long Live Tunisia Party). The election has been triggered by the death of the first democratically elected Tunisian President, Beji Caid Essebsi, in late July.

Chahed, speaking to reporters as he announced his bid, said that the President of Tunisia “must have integrity and a clear mind”, but also the ability to “represent everyone and bring hope to the people”.

Ennahda (The Renaissance Party), who held power following the 2011 Tunisian Revolution, also announced their candidate, 71-year-old Abdelfattah Morou. Morou told the cameras that he is “striving to serve the goals of the nation as a whole, in order to fulfil its dignity and realise its determination” with the participation of all Tunisians. Ennahda’s two-and-a-half year stint in power ended in early 2014 after uproar in the traditionally secular country over “Islamisation” and assassinations of two secular politicians forced the party to step down.

Other prominent figures running for election include the current Minister of Defence, Abdelkarim Zbidi, media mogul Nabeel al-Qarawi, the former President Moncef Marzouki and former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, as well as the Chairman of the Free Destourian Movement, Abir Moussi, and the leader of the Popular Front, Hamma Hammami.

As the candidates put their names foward, the High Electoral Commission in Tunisia is now tasked with examining their candidatures before announcing a final list of eligible candidates for election. The electoral campaign will then begin on 2nd September and run for 10 days.

After election day in mid-September, the preliminary results of the Tunisian elections will be announced on 17 September. Tunisia, which was one of the first countries in the Middle East and North Africa region to successfully overthrow its government during the Arab Spring, is widely regarded as the sole success of the region-wide rebellion.