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

Tunisians to Elect New President Amid Low Turnout Concerns

Tunisians to Elect New President Amid Low Turnout Concerns

Sunday, 13 October, 2019 - 08:15
The director of a polling station in Tunis inspects the ballot boxes on Saturday, October 12, 2019 (AFP)

More than seven million Tunisians will head today (Sunday) to the polling stations in the country to choose their new president for a five-year term.

The competition falls between independent law professor Kais Saied, who is backed by Ennahda party, and Heart of Tunisia (Qalb Tounes) candidate Nabil Karoui, who is backed by liberal and right-wing political components.

However, several political and social parties have expressed concerns about low turnout just like what happened in the first round of the presidential race and in the parliamentary elections.

Saied received 18.4 percent of votes in September’s first round, in which 26 candidates were competing, while Karoui received only 15.6 percent.

The High Authority for Elections (IHAE) said preparations for the polls, which the Tunisians are eagerly awaiting its results, are “going well to make the final electoral process for 2019 a success.”

IHAE’s Deputy Head Farouk Bouasker affirmed in a press statement that about 53,000 employees, including heads of polling stations and their assistants as well as members of polling stations, which are distributed in 27 electoral districts, were assigned to ensure the elections run smoothly.

Regarding the preparations made by the IHAE, Bouasker said the “election equipment was transferred from warehouses on Saturday and are being distributed among the polling stations under the supervision of the Tunisian army.”

The polls are expected to be secured by about 100,000 people, including security and military personnel, who will ensure voters’ security.

They will make sure that no chaos or fraud take place, starting from the polling stations and during the voting process until the ballots are closed and taken to the assembly centers.

Bouaskar expected the counting process to proceed smoothly this time, given that two candidates only are competing in this round.

Preliminary results of the second round are expected to be announced on Monday, he said.

Editor Picks