Tunisia elects retired law professor, Kais Saied new president
London, Oct. 14, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Retired law professor Kais Saied has won Tunisia’s presidential election with 73% of the vote, according to preliminary results from the electoral commission.
His challenger in the run-off, Nabil Karoui, won 27%.
The election of an outsider, a once obscure law professor is a sharp rebuke of the political establishment that has dominated the sole democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings
On the streets of the capital, Tunisians honked their car horns in celebration. Thousands gathered on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the epicenter of the 2011 revolution, chanting Saied’s name and waving Tunisian flags. Others chanted, “Nabil, it’s over,” as fireworks erupted over the crowds.
“I am so happy and proud of our democracy,” said Rania Gnaba, 32, a financial analyst who was draped in a Tunisian flag. “Saied is going to make sure the laws of the Constitution are respected. He’s going to fight against corruption.”
In a region ruled by monarchs, autocrats and family dynasties, Tunisia on Sunday once again showcased its unique position in the Arab world.
Millions headed to the polls to choose between two political outsiders in the runoff of its second-ever presidential elections. In doing so, they showed contempt for the nation’s political establishment for not solving the high unemployment rate, rising prices and lack of opportunities that helped spark the revolution.
A disillusioned population had placed its hopes on two diametrically opposite candidates: Karoui, a multimillionaire TV station owner who campaigned from a prison cell, and Saied, an obscure academic who hardly campaigned and had to borrow money to register as candidate.
“I am fed up with the political system,” said Najwa Sassi, 45, an employee in a pharmaceutical lab who voted for Saied in Tunis’s upscale enclave of Les Berges du Lac. “But I never expected that we would elect a political outsider. This makes me proud of our democracy.”