Tunisia election moves into runoff vote

Conservative Law professor Kais Saïd and media entrepreneur Nabil Karoui, who’s in jail, were the best-voted hopefuls in the first round of the presidential race.

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Tunis – The presidential election in Tunisia is moving into a runoff. The vote held this week was scheduled after the death of president Béji Caïd Essebsi last July. Quoting preliminary data made public this Tuesday (17) by the Independent High Authority for Elections, TAP reported that the best-voted first-round candidates are Kais Saïd (pictured, on the right), who got 620,711 votes, or 18.4%, and Nabil Karoui (on the left), with 525,517 votes, or 15.6%.

Saïd is a 61-year-old Law professor with a conservative bent and no party affiliation. Karoui is a 56-year-old media mogul serving jailtime on tax evasion and money laundry charges, which he denies. He is a member of the Qalb Tounes Party (Arabic for Heart of Tunisia). Both are new to politics and outdid 24 candidates, many of whom were traditional politicians.

The runoff date is yet to be announced. In Tunisia, the president is the head of state. The prime minister, who gets picked by Parliament, is the head of government.

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Hasna & Fethi Belaid/AFP

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