- The forthcoming election follows the death of President Caid Essebsi who passed on July 25th.
- Youssef Chahed told the press that he did not plan to resign from his post.
- For the first time in the history of Tunisia, a candidate who is openly pro-LGBT also applied to participate in the presidential race.
Nearly 100 presidential candidates have filed their candidacy for the presidential election anticipated in Tunisia in the hope of succeeding Beji Caid Essebsi, the first democratically elected head of state following the Arab Spring country. In total, the names of 98 applicants interested in competing in the presidential election were recorded by the closing of registrations today. This was officially confirmed by the country’s Election commision (Isie).
Two key figures in the country’s political arena – Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and Acting President of Parliament Abdelfattah Mourou – filed their applications today, which was the very last day for the submission of presidential nomination papers. Both of them arrived for the occasion in the company of their dozens of their supporters.
After filing his candidacy, Youssef Chahed told the press that he did not plan to resign from his post insisting that taking such a step would imply the resignation of the entire country’s government and bring everything to a standstill including the postponement of the eagerly awaited forth-coming elections. “Whoever wants my resignation wants the postponement of the elections and my resignation means the resignation of the government,” he said.
Abdelfattah Mourou while appearing for the presentation of his nomination papers, came accompanied by Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahdh party, as well as by other officials of the Ennahdha an Islamist-inspired party. Aged 71, Mourou temporarily replaced parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur, who became interim president of Tunisia, after President Béji Caïd Essebsi died on July 25th. The skilled communicator, known for his humor and moderation, said Friday that his main objective in seeking the presidency of Tunisia is “to serve the nation.”
Among their main competitors is Defense Minister Abdelkrim Zbidi, 69, who applied on Wednesday (August 7th) after resigning from the government. Before his death, president Caid Essebsi had brought him into his inner circle several times, often placing him in his kitchen cabinet.
The controversial businessman and media mogul Nabil Karoui, recently indicted for money laundering, is also a presidential candidate and a serious one for that matter. On Thursday, for the first time in the history of Tunisia, a candidate who is openly pro-LGBT also applied to participate in the presidential race. Lawyer Mounir Baatour stands as an advocate for LGBTQ rights, something that is highly frowned upon within this community.
Saturday, August 31, the country’s elections body, Isie will unveil the final list of successful candidates and the election campaign will begin from September 2 to 13th.