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Tunisia: Second Round of Presidential Race Commences

Tunisia: Second Round of Presidential Race Commences

Friday, 4 October, 2019 - 09:30
In this September 4, 2019 file photo, a woman walks past a wall of campaign posters in Tunis, Tunisia. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi, File)

The campaign of the 2nd round of presidential elections commenced Thursday in Tunisia and will last till October 11.

Professor Kais Saied, the independent candidate who garnered 18.4 percent, and Nabil Karoui, who garnered 15.58 percent of votes, will be in the campaign. However, Karoui remains in prison for charges of money-laundry and tax evasion.

Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections ( ISIE) demanded Karoui be allowed televised interviews so he can communicate with voters. ISIE's member Anis Jarboui said that the authority finds itself in an embarrassing situation because candidates don’t have the same chances as Karoui remains in prison.

For his part, Saied said that some electoral ballots exploited his picture and denied having anything to do with it.

While Karoui commenced his campaign with a stern message to Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi, accusing Ennahda of misleading -- he attributed his imprisonment to rejecting the political alliance with Ennahda.

Karoui also accused it of standing behind the political assassinations, hinting at leftist opposition leader Chokri Belaid and deputy Mohamed Brahmi in 2013, the killing of a number of security guards by terrorist groups, and assisting terrorist networks in sending Tunisians to hotbeds outside the country.

Hatem al-Maliki, spokesman for presidential candidate Nabil Karoui, stated that he sent a message to ISIE, the president, and national organizations to urge equal opportunity among candidates.

Maliki said it is likely that the outcome of the 2nd round of elections will be appealed and unrecognized internationally because of the lack of equal opportunities among competitors.

Karoui is facing judicial and political pressures after researcher Sharan Grewal published the news of Karoui sealing a deal with a Canadian firm specified in lobbying and granting it $1M to help him win the elections.

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