In Tunisia, dozens of nominees have submitted their candidacy documents for the upcoming presidential elections scheduled to take place on September 15th instead of the original date 17th November. Early elections are taking place as Tunisia’s late President Beji Caid Essebsi died last month at the age of 92.
Asharq Al-Awsat news website reported that 40 people had submitted their presidential credentials to Tunisia’s Independent High Electoral Authority (ISIE) before the deadline which was on August 9th. ISIE noted that 29 people submitted their applications during the first five days of the race on August 2nd, while 11 presented documents on the last day.
Among candidates who nominated themselves for the post is lawyer Abdel Fattah Mourou,71. Mourou, Vice President of the Islamist Ennahda Movement has demanded reforms to the party to make it more open and to distance it from Muslim Brotherhood.
Critics believe that Mourou is untrustworthy and holds contradictory positions on Islam’s role in society. "Mourou is a highly-regarded figure in Tunisia, he is able to unite Tunisians and to find consensus between rivals. This is what Tunisia needs now," Imed Khmiri, a senior Ennahda official, told the media.
The Ennahda Party participated in the 1989 parliamentary elections, which followed the toppling of former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.
Defence Minister Abdul Karim Al-Zubaidi submitted his candidacy documents to run for the presidential elections. Al-Zubaidi stated that he will run as an independent candidate, he is one of the most prominent political figures in Tunisia as he played an important role in toppling former Tunisian President Bin Ali.
Al-Zubaidi, 69, who has the support of secular parties such as Nidaa Tounes and Afek Tounes, is likely to emerge as one of the frontrunners in the election. Al-Zubaidi, a technocrat, is considered by many to be above the party politics and infighting that have held back badly-needed economic reforms in Tunisia in recent years.
Meanwhile, Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, leader of the Long Live Tunisia party, submitted on 8th August, his candidacy application for the presidential election affiliated to Muslim Brotherhood. Chahed was member of the Nidaa Tunisia party. Chahed, 43, is strongly supported by Muslim Brotherhood as well as other regional and foreign entities.
Among other candidates is former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki said he was considering running for the presidency for the second time in response to his party’s nomination. Marzouki who is supported by ‘Another Tunisia’ party told the Tunisian radio station Mosaïque FM, “My party has decided to nominate me for the presidency, and I am in the last stages of discussion.”
Other candidates who have announced their intention to run include liberal former prime minister Mehdi Jomaa. Jomaa, 57, is an engineer and was the acting Prime Minister of Tunisia from January 29th 2014 to February 6th 2015. He was selected on December 14th 2013. Jomaa was Minister of Industry in the Ali Laarayedh government.
Jomaa will run as the candidate for his Tunisian Alternative Party. Speaking ahead of a candidacy event in Tunis, Jomaa said Tunisians were waiting for the moment to elect a new leader. Jomaa led a technocratic government in 2014, a year that ended with free elections.