Politics & Economics

What will be the outcome of the upcoming Tunisian presidential elections?

North Africa

The second round of the presidential elections in Tunisia between Qais Said and Nabil Karoui is set to take place on 13 October amidst calls to postpone it.

Nabil Karoui, who came second in the first round of the ongoing Tunisian Presidential Elections, has called for a postponement of the vote as he continues to remain in detention. Karoui is claiming that he is being denied the chance to run his political campaign on an equal footing with Qais Said, ahead of the upcoming second round. Said, who won the first round run-off, announced last weekend that he will refuse to campaign due to the inequality of opportunity between the two candidates.

The past few weeks have seen the running of both the presidential and the parliamentary elections in Tunisia. Both sets of elections failed to bring about a majority winner, demonstrating the diversity of political representatives who presented their candidacies and the broad range of opinions and political stances held by Tunisians, despite the relatively low turnout in both elections.

In the first round of the presidential elections, Qais Said, a candidate endorsed by the Ennahda Party with so-called “Islamist” tendencies, came out on top garnering 18.4% of the total vote. Nabil Karoui, a media mogul who formed the Qalb Tounes Party in June and remains in prison on charges of money laundering, came in second position with 15.6% of the vote. Since no candidate won an outright majority, the presidential elections will go to a second vote.

The ambiguity of the results in both the presidential and parliamentary elections in Tunisia has brought forth concerns that the second round of voting will also not manage to lead to a clear outcome. The results in the parliamentary elections, in which only 41% of voters took part, brought about similar results, with Ennahda winning 17.5% of votes and Qalb Tounes attracting 15.6%.

Rather than legitimising the political representatives, the elections have come to show that Tunisians are disengaged with the political process and disillusioned by mainstream political forces. In addition, constitutional shortcomings have prevented a solution to the matter of Karoui’s participation while in detention, complicating the electoral process.