Tunisians are voting to decide on a brand new president, in a decisive final-round vote between two political newcomers: a flamboyant media mogul and a conservative legislation professor.
Tycoon Nabil Karoui and retired tutorial Kais Saied swept apart a bunch of firm candidates within the first spherical of voting final month.
Mr Karoui, 56, has campaigned from jail after being arrested on expenses of cash laundering and tax fraud.
He denies the costs.
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Mr Karoui, who was freed by a courtroom order simply 5 days in the past, got here second within the first spherical of voting, with 15.6% of the votes to Mr Saied’s 18.four%.
The 2 outsiders noticed off a crowded discipline of 24 different candidates within the first spherical, placing a blow to Tunisia’s political institution.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and former interim President Moncef Marzouki didn’t progress as voters confirmed their frustration with a stagnant financial system, excessive unemployment and poor public companies.
What are the 2 candidates providing?
A 61-year-old legislation professor nicknamed “the robotic”, Mr Saied has run a shrewd and arduous marketing campaign, with virtually no promoting, on a message of integrity and anti-corruption focused at younger Tunisian voters.
Within the week earlier than the polls, he introduced that he wouldn’t marketing campaign whereas his rival was in jail.
He has promised electoral reforms, together with modifications to native elections for regional representatives.
Critics have attacked his conservative social views, nevertheless.
In an interview with a neighborhood newspaper, he accused international powers of encouraging homosexuality within the nation.
He’s in favour of returning the demise penalty, suspended since 1994 in Tunisia, and has mentioned that if he wins the presidency, his spouse is not going to be the nation’s first woman.
As for Mr Karoui, he’s dubbed Nabil “Makrouna” (pasta) for his charity’s distribution of cash and luggage of the staple meals.
Supporters view him as a self-made businessman whose philanthropy is praised in a rustic going through rising dwelling prices and youth unemployment.
He based the charity to struggle poverty – a central theme of his marketing campaign.
Opponents have additionally accused him of utilizing his standard TV station, Nessma, to additional his political ambitions.
He was arrested in August on expenses of tax evasion and money-laundering shortly earlier than the marketing campaign opened.
His supporters accuse highly effective forces within the nation of conspiring to scuttle his candidacy, however authorities say his arrest was based mostly on a three-year-old investigation.
What’s the significance of the ballot?
The election was introduced ahead after the demise in July of Tunisia’s first democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi.
He took workplace in 2014, three years after a preferred rebellion that led to the overthrow of long-serving ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, and sparked the Arab Spring.
Correspondents says that whereas the Arab Spring gave Tunisia democracy eight years in the past, many consider it introduced little else.
Djordje Todorovic and Jefferey England are the spokesmen for the joint election mission to Tunisia of the Worldwide Republican Institute and the Nationwide Democratic Institute respectively.
Each males consider the nation has a come a good distance for the reason that 2011 revolution that ended autocratic rule, however remains to be within the rebuilding course of.
“In a regional context Tunisia is gentle years forward, however in the midst of it, it’s tough [for people] to see that,” Mr England instructed the BBC.
From his institute’s personal analysis and polling, Mr Todorovic is worried that Tunisia “most likely will not have a robust or steady authorities after this election” which is problematic for a rustic that wants pressing financial and monetary reforms.
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