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Zubaidi’s Campaign Denies That He Gave Up Tunisia’s Presidency for Another Candidate

Zubaidi’s Campaign Denies That He Gave Up Tunisia’s Presidency for Another Candidate

Tuesday, 20 August, 2019 - 11:30
Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed (Reuters)
Tunis - Mongi Saidani

The leader in the Tunisian Alternative Party Wissam al-Saidi has indicated the possible withdrawal of Defense Minister Abdul Karim al-Zubaidi from the presidential race.

The elections are scheduled for September 15, and Zubaidi is said to be withdrawing in favor of Head of the Tunisian Alternative Party Mehdi Jomaa, the former premier, who is also running for the same elections.

Zubaidi’s supporters said this news aim to confuse the candidacy of the resigning defense minister.

Meanwhile, his campaign manager said this news is “baseless and the issue is not even addressed.”

According to observers, this call is mainly due to the connection between Zubaidi and Jomaa, who follow the same political orientation, which may boost the chances of the Ennahda Party’s candidate to pass to the second round of the presidential elections.

Zubaidi is among the most prominent candidates to pass to the second round. A number of his supporters mentioned that he received more than 350,000 votes from the public to emphasize his great popularity among voters.

These people have highlighted his political expertise, the successful tasks he achieved within the state and his distance from any ideological or financial lobby. They also said he had successfully overseen the Ministry of Defense twice since the 2011 revolution.

On the other hand, his rivals say he is inexperienced in politics and is closer to the technocrats who implement the state's orientations as well as his limited ability to communicate with political representatives.

Zubaidi is running for president as an independent candidate. Yet, Nidaa Tounes, founded by late President Beji Caid Essebsi, has backed his nomination alongside the Tunisian General Labor Union.

He has earlier announced his resignation from heading the Ministry and said he will devote his time to the presidential elections and stay away from confusing between the government and political work.

In this context, interim President Mohamed Ennaceur and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed will hold consultations on the arrangements for this resignation and the party that will oversee the ministry until a successor to Zubaidi is appointed.

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