Tunisia-presidential elections: Law professor, detained media mogul head to second round; PM concedes defeat

Polls by several media and polling firms predict, after the first round of the presidential election held Sunday in Tunisia, a face-off between Kais Saied, a law professor, and Nabil Karoui, a media mogul detained on money laundering charges.

Kais Saied, the surprise of the voting process, is credited with 19.5 per cent of the votes while Karoui of the “Heart of Tunisia” party garnered 15.5.

Independent candidate Kais Saied is in the lead with 19.5%, results compiled by the election body after counting 27% of ballots. Nabil Karoui follows with 15.5% ahead of Ennahdha candidate Abdelfattah Mourou.

According to early results, state-run news agency, TAP, said that Abdelkrim Zbidi came in fourth ahead of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and Ahmed Safi Saïd.

Kais Saied welcomed the results noting that his victory heralds a new Tunisia.

“My win brings a big responsibility to change frustration to hope… it is a new step in Tunisian history… it is like a new revolution,” he told a local radio station on Sunday.

Nabil Karoui has been held in prison since last month over money laundering charges. He has been allowed to run for the elections because still not tried and convicted. However head of the electoral commission, Nabil Baffoun after the vote reportedly indicated that the businessman will lose his second place in favor of the third of the polls, Abdelfattah Mourou, candidate of the moderate Islamist party Ennahdha, should he be found guilty.

The biggest loser of these elections is Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, ranked fifth with 7.5 per cent of the vote.

Chahed, according to state-run news agency, TAP, acknowledged his defeat and called on the leading candidates to take Tunisians concerns at heart as they head to the second round.

42 per cent of around 7 million voters turned out for the vote on Sunday, way below 64 per cent recorded during the first round in 2014 elections.

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