Tunis, October 14, 2019 (CABNC): Exit polls from the just concluded elections in Tunisia has placed the retired academic Kais Saied, 61, in the lead. The polls showed that Mr Saied had secured 76% of votes in a contest that reflected Tunisia’s shifting post-revolution political landscape. Mr Saied appeared in front of jubilant supporters in Tunis and thanked “young people for turning a new page” in Tunisia’s history. “We will try to build a new Tunisia. Young people led this campaign, and I am responsible for them,” he said, flanked by his family.
Mr Saied was up against the charismatic media magnate Nabil Karoui, 56, who campaigned from prison after being arrested on charges of money laundering and tax fraud. He was arrested on corruption charges on the eve of campaigning earlier this year in timing that many saw as a ploy to stem his popularity but which appeared to have backfired, enshrining his status as an outsider. He remains under investigation and cannot travel abroad.
Mr. Karoui denies the charges and officials have warned he may appeal. He told a news conference he had been denied a chance to compete fairly and would decide whether to appeal once the electoral commission had announced the official tally.
Mr Karoui, who was freed by court order just four days ago, came second in the first round of voting, with 15.6% of the vote to Mr Saied’s 18.4%.
Turnout exceeded 50%.
The official results are expected later on Monday.