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Campaigning for Presidential Polls Starts in Tunisia

Campaigning for Presidential Polls Starts in Tunisia

Monday, 2 September, 2019 - 08:30
Chairman of Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) Nabil Baffoun at a press conference (AP)

Tunisia’s presidential elections campaign began Monday after the announcement of a list of 26 candidates for the September 15 first round of voting.

Campaigning began Saturday abroad and will run from Monday to September 13 in Tunisia.

Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) has assigned 1,200 employees to monitor the electoral campaigns and check whether they respect rules and regulations.

The task of the employees, who are distributed in the 27 electoral constituencies, begins at the start of campaigns.

During a press conference held in Tunis, ISIE chairman Nabil Baffoun said the Authority had sent official letters to candidates about the websites and funding pages that support them during their campaigns.

“The Authority has provided candidates with a list of pages and websites concerned, being part of the allowed electoral funding,” said Baffoun.

As part of its efforts to control the candidates’ campaign funding, ISIE is expected to hold on Monday a meeting attended by representatives from the Ministry of Justice and the Premiership to discuss means to monitor funds from home and abroad for presidential and parliamentary candidates.

According to observers, there is a stark difference between the 2019 elections and the last polls when Ennahda Party decided to take a neutral stance in the first round and direct its efforts in the second round to support Moncef Marzouki, who failed to win against late Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, resigned Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi and Ennahda Party’s candidate Abdelfattah Mourou, are seen as the most prominent candidates this year.

Unlike Ennahda’s candidate, who enjoys a stable electoral base, the other candidates rely on a single electoral base and are in a collective race against Ennahda.

There had been sharp disagreements among leaders of Nidaa Tounes Party, led by the late Tunisian president’s son Hafez Caid Essebsi, on their candidate for the presidential elections.

While Nidaa Tounes’s official position was to fully support Zbidi, who had close ties with the late president, leaders from the same party expressed their support for Chahed.

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