- Saïed was projected to win between 72 and 77% of the vote, with Karoui winning between 23 and 27%.
- Karoui previously expressed his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the elections, but in the meantime he has acknowledged the election result.
- "I don't make traditional promises, but I come up with new ideas," Saïed said earlier during his campaign.
Independent presidential candidate and professor Kaïs Saïed has officially been elected as the new president of Tunisia with a clear victory. He apparently convinced about 75% of Tunisian voters in a true electoral landslide. His opponent, the controversial media magnate Nabil Karoui, earlier called the competition an unfair battle, but he has since acknowledged Saïed’s victory.
Exit polls yesterday had already indicated that Saïed would be the new president of Tunisia with an irrefutable election result. Saïed was projected to win between 72 and 77% of the vote, with Karoui winning between 23 and 27%. Saïed thus becomes Tunisia’s second democratically-elected president, after Beji Caïd Essebsi, since the Jasmine Revolution that led to the ouster of the country’s dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011.
Tunisian voters made clear their dissatisfaction with years of political abuses and economic stagnation by voting against the country’s big political names on September 15. They voted in large numbers for little-known candidates, as opposed to well-established politicians. It all ended in a runoff Sunday, between the two leading candidates, Saïed and Karoui. The battle has, apparently and decisively, been settled in favor of Saïed.
Karoui previously expressed his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the elections, but in the meantime he has acknowledged the election result, and congratulated Saïed on his victory. Karoui is the party leader of the Heart of Tunisia party, and the owner of the television channel Nessma. The Tunisian philanthropist has used his media channels in recent months to promote his candidacy. In the run-up to the presidential elections, Karoui was arrested and placed in custody on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. It was only a few days ago that he was released. Karoui called it a political detention that negatively influenced his candidacy.
Who is Kaïs Saïed?
In the run-up to the elections, there were few analysts who gave the 61-year-old Saïed a big chance of becoming Tunisia’s next president. The retired professor of constitutional law has practically no experience in politics and many doubted his chances of ascending to the presidency. The fact that he is not connected to a traditional Tunisian party make him extremely popular, not least with many Tunisian young people. According to some polls, more than 90 percent of 18 to 25 year olds voted for Saïed.
The new Tunisian president, Kaïs Saïed, is known for his socially conservative program. He wants to give more power to local councils and he also speaks of reforms in which he supposedly wants to renew the state and decentralize certain things. “I don’t make traditional promises, but I come up with new ideas,” Saïed said earlier during his campaign. It is also generally known that the retired professor of constitutional law has controversial conservative positions. He wants to reintroduce the death penalty, he is against the equal inheritance law for men and women, and he called homosexuality a disease and a foreign conspiracy.