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Tunisia's Main Candidates for Presidential Elections

Tunisia's Main Candidates for Presidential Elections

Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 - 10:30
Abdel Fattah Morou, vice president of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, reacts after submitting his candidacy for the presidential elections, in Tunis, Tunisia August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
Tunis- Asharq Al-Awsat
Tunisia's moderate Islamists have nominated Abdelfattah Mourou as candidate for the country's presidential elections on Sept 15.

Here are his main rivals for the race.

YOUSSEF CHAHED

Incumbent prime minister, in office since 2016 and the main contact person for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Tunisia's loan program.

Born in 1975, he is an agricultural engineer. Prior to his appointment as prime minister he held posts as junior minister for fishing and minister for local affairs.

He formed his own party this year after the Nidaa Tounes party suspended his membership in a row with the son of the late President Beji Caid Essebsi, who had demanded his resignation.

ABDELKARIM ZBIDI

Zbidi, 69, a technocrat and medical doctor by training, is considered by many to be above the party politics and infighting that has held back economic reforms recommended by the IMF in recent years.

He has served twice since 2011 as defense minister, first in a cabinet led by the Islamists of Ennahda and later under Chaded. He enjoys the support of secular parties including Nidaa Tounes and Afek Tounes.

NABIL KAROUI

Karoui, 56, is a media magnate who owns the Nesma channel which has been promoting his candidacy and career. He used to be member of the Nidaa Tounes party before he quit. Karoui founded the Khalil Tounes Foundation in 2017 to fight poverty, the main theme in his campaign.

In June, parliament passed an amendment to its electoral law which would have banned Karoui from running for president. The draft said candidates need to be rejected who benefit from "charitable associations" or foreign funding during the year before an election.

But Essebsi had not signed the law before he died, allowing Karoui to run.

In April, police stormed the offices of Nesma and took it off the air over accusations it had breached broadcasting rules, which Nesma called a move to silence its voice criticizing the government.

MEHDI JOMAA

Jomaa, 57 is an engineer who graduated in Tunis and worked for French oil major Total and other Western firms. He was appointed acting prime minister in January 2014 to head a technocrat government until 2015, replacing an Islamist-led cabinet that had led to a polarisation of the country.

He was previously industry minister.

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