Political tensions threaten Tunisia’s democracy as run-off elections will be held today

A run-off presidential election will be held in Tunisia today. Following the failure of any candidate to gain enough votes

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Photo: AJLabs

A run-off presidential election will be held in Tunisia today. Following the failure of any candidate to gain enough votes in the first round of presidential elections, Tunisians will choose between independent law professor Kais Saied and television network owner Nabil Karoui.

Despite spending the campaign behind bars for alleged tax evasion and money laundering, Karoui came in just 2.8% behind Saied. Karoui was only released this week and the electoral commission has hinted that his imprisonment may be grounds for an appeal if he loses today. But if Karoui wins, Saied could argue that the charges make him illegitimate.

While many see Karoui’s imprisonment as evidence of corruption, others believe his philanthropic work proves that he will fulfil his promise of enacting legislation to end poverty.

With Ennahda, the party that dominated recent parliamentary elections, struggling to form a governing majority, the new president could be tasked with nominating a candidate to lead government. Alternatively, another parliamentary election could occur.

Expect political instability over the next few weeks, especially if presidential and parliamentary elections are called.