Politics & Economics

Problems Arise Ahead of the Second Round of Tunisian Elections

North Africa

The rejection of appeals made in the first round of elections by the Tunisia's Administrative Court has set the stage for the second round of elections.

The demands to appeal the elections results of the first round were made by Seif Eddine Makhlouf, Youssef Chahed, Naji Djelloul, Hatem Boulabiar, and Salim Riahi, 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.

It is expected that the final results of the first round of elections will be announced officially by the Tunisian Independent High Authority for Elections soon and will announce the date for the second round, which is expected to take place on 13 October.

The main issue facing the electoral process in Tunisia before the second round takes place is the situation of candidate Nabil Karoui, who is still imprisoned. His rival Qais Said recently stated that he would like to see Karoui freed as the inequality of opportunity for both candidates leaves Said “morally uncomfortable”.

The Independent High Electoral Commission and constitutional law professors have expressed fears that there will be a possibility that the elections in Tunisia will be annulled due to the legal problems surrounding them, especially regarding the principle of equal opportunities. The country’s judiciary will have the final say on the matter.

In the first round, 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. Other up and coming movements have also joined the race, including the so-called “anti-party” named Aich Tounsi, meaning “Live the Tunisian Way”, purporting to be a group that is completely detached from the mainstream political establishment.