Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Slow Start in Tunisia’s Presidential Election Campaigns

Slow Start in Tunisia’s Presidential Election Campaigns

Wednesday, 4 September, 2019 - 07:15
Supporters of presidential candidate Nabil Karoui shout slogans as they take part in a rally in front of the tribunal asking for his release from prison in Tunis, Tunisia, September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

All candidates competing in Tunisia’s upcoming presidential elections, slated for Sept. 15, had a slow start to their election campaigns, hitting only expected voter constituencies.

In the first two days, rallies were somber and hardly picked up any election heat with observers predicting that they will intensify in a few days. Televised debates, scheduled for the end of this week, will help stronger candidates stand out in election polls.

Campaign managers had candidates tour a number of major cities where they shook hands with voters in busy street markets and cafes and announced their campaign programs. Flyers and posters were also handed out.

But visiting a number of streets and mega residential complexes in the capital, it is evident that many candidates are late with putting up their election flyers. They will have until Sep. 13 before campaigns close and voters hit the ballots.

According to political analysts, candidates will need to heavily campaign for themselves knowing that all presidential hopefuls, until this very moment, remain at the same level of competition with many voters undecided.

With the start of the presidential election campaigns, the Anti-Corruption and Illegal Gain Prosecution constitutional committee confirmed that 23 candidates out of a total of 26 applicants were finally qualified for the presidential election.

Before running for the country’s top office, the 23 successfully declared their earnings and assets, a procedure vital to the candidate’s public image.

On the other hand, about 30 civil society activists and national figures banded together to call out a number of violations preceding the election campaigns for 2019.

Among the human rights violations claimed by the activists were infringement on public and individual freedoms and the gross exploitation of influence and public funds for electoral and partisan goals.

They called on candidates approved by the committee to adopt a host of economic, social and political projects which could help national development rather than advance personal and partisan interests.

Editor Picks