Tunisia's presidential race heats up amid crisis

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
Istanbul
Published 08.08.2019 00:33

Tunisia's biggest political party Ennahda named a candidate for the presidential elections on Tuesday, the first time it has put up a nominee for the post since the country transitioned to democracy after the 2011 revolution.

Party Vice President Abdel Fattah Mourou, 71, a lawyer, will run in the elections to be held two months early on Sept. 15 following the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi last month. He was chosen as "an expression of the movement's confidence in democracy, the republic and the Tunisian revolution," Ennahda leader Rashid Ghannouchi was cited as saying late Tuesday by Radio Mosaique FM, a local broadcaster. The country's former president Moncef Marzouki yesterday lodged his presidential candidacy file to run for office in early elections scheduled for next fall. He recalled when he was jailed for four months in 1994 after taking the same step to run for presidential election under the regime of deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

After Essebsi's death, Tunisia could face a power vacuum and may lack a figure on whom each party would agree. The country has been experiencing economic and security problems. Unemployment has been increasing, while the presence of Daesh-affiliated groups constantly poses threats to the country.

The tiny North African country remained an exception among others that have experienced the so-called Arab Spring. While Libya, Syria and Yemen continue to suffer from civil wars with the participation of numerous local, regional and international actors, Egypt witnessed a more brutal regime in 2013 after incumbent President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ousted Mohammed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president, who died last month during a court trial. However, despite its fragility, Tunisia has managed to make a shift toward a democratic system of government.

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