Politics & Economics

Two Candidates Lead the Race Following First Round of Elections in Tunisia

North Africa

Nabil Karoui and Qais Said are the two leading candidates following the first round of presidential elections in Tunisia.

The 61-year-old law professor Qais Said and media mogul Nabil Karoui are leading the presidential race in Tunisia, according to initial results coming from voting, which began on Sunday evening.

Elections were meant to be held in November but were brought forward following the death of former president, Beji Caid Essebsi, in July earlier this year.

According to the preliminary results, Said, who is running as an independent, has 19% of the vote, while Karoui, who is being held in prison for tax evasion, has 14.9% of the vote.

These initial results followed recent polling in Tunisia over the weekend before the voting began, which placed Said and Karoui as favourites for the post.

Among the other front-runners is Ennahda candidate Abdelfattah Mourou, who has 13.1% of the vote, and former prime minister Youssef Chahed, who is sitting in 5th place, according to the High Independent Election Authorities in Tunisia.

According to local statistics, 45.02% of Tunisians came out to vote, which represents a significant decrease from 64% in the last presidential election in 2014. This drop is believed to be linked to youth disenfranchisement with the current political scene.

In Kasserine, which is known as the “hot bed” of the revolution, the sign of political disengagement is evident, with political posters visibly missing from roads and shops in the town. Youth unemployment in Kasserine is also higher than the national average at 36%, although some locals put it as high as 65%.

The final results of the election are expected to be announced tomorrow. If none of the 26 candidates competing receive over 50% of the voting share, then a second round will be held to determine the winner.

Image: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters