Kais Saied is Set to Become Tunisia's Next President
While official results have not been published, the retired academic reportedly secured 76 percent of the votes according to the exit polls.
Last week, Tunisia held its legislative elections, according to reports by Aljazeera. The Ennahda Movement obtained 52 seats in the 217-member parliament while the Karoui's Heart of Tunisia party came second, with 38 seats. While the presidential elections were only scheduled to take place in November, they were pushed forward after the country's first democratically-elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, passed away in July. Two independent candidates, media mogul Nabil Karoui and retired law professor Kais Saied, have been facing off in the presidential runoff. However, recent exit polls suggest that Saied secured between 72 and 77 percent of the vote.
While the official results of the election will only be released later today, Saied's supporters took to the streets to celebrate his lead over this past weekend. On Friday, the two presidential candidates participated in a debate which 6 million Tunisians tuned in to watch. Saied spoke of fighting corruption and empowering the people although he said very little about actual policies he would put in place. Karoui, on the other hand, spoke of alleviating poverty and bringing in more jobs centered on technology. In the first round of voting, Saied and Karoui secured 18.4 and 15.6 percent of the vote respectively.
Karoui however, campaigned for the most part from prison after he was arrested on charges of money laundering and tax fraud. He was only released from prison a few days ago following a court order and maintains his innocence.
Speaking about his lead in the polls, Saied said that, "We will try to build a new Tunisia. Young people led this campaign, and I am responsible for them."