Tunisia's Ennahdha party said Friday it will support law professor Kais Saied in a presidential runoff against jailed media magnate Nabil Karoui.
"Ennahdha has chosen to support the people's choice," party spokesman Imed Khemiri told AFP after last Sunday's first round of polling in which Saied finished ahead with 18.4 percent of the vote.
The surprise result of the election, contested by more than 20 candidates, thrust to the fore both Saied and Karoui. Karoui came second with 15.6 percent, said the electoral commission ISIE, while Ennahdha scored 12.9 percent with its first-ever candidate to run for the presidency, Abdelfattah Mourou.
Saied, an independent academic aged 61, advocates a radical decentralisation of power, with local democracy and the ability to remove elected officials from office during their mandates. Karoui, a 56-year-old media magnate, has been held in prison since August 23 under investigation for alleged money laundering.
However, he remains eligible to run as long as any conviction does not also specifically deprive him of his civil rights, according ISIE, AFP reported.