Tunisia electoral commission approves 26 presidential candidates

Nabil Baffoun (R), Tunisia’s head of Independent High Authority for elections (ISIE), attends a press conference in Tunis on August 14, 2019. Twenty-six candidacies to the Tunisian presidential election of September 15 have been validated and 71 rejected, after a preliminary examination of the applications, announced the election authority (ISIE). (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2019

Tunisia electoral commission approves 26 presidential candidates

  • Tunisia’s electoral commission approved 26 candidates, including 2 women, and rejected 71 others
  • The Sept. 15 vote follows the death of Beji Caid Essebsi, the country's first democratically-elected president

TUNIS: Tunisia’s electoral commission said on Wednesday it had approved 26 candidates including two women for next month’s presidential election and had rejected 71 other applicants. The Sept. 15 vote follows the death of Beji Caid Essebsi, the first president to be democratically elected in Tunisia after the popular uprising of 2011. Essebsi died last month at the age of 92. It will be the third free election in Tunisia since that uprising.
Among candidates approved for the presidential race are Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, former Premier Mehdi Jomaa, the vice president of the moderate Ennahda Movement, Abdel Fattah Mourou and Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi.
Zbidi resigned from his post after submitting his candidacy to run for the presidential elections on Aug. 7.
Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Nabil Karoui, businessman and owner of the private channel Nessma TV, will also join the race.

Women candidates
The two women candidates approved are former Tourism Minister Salma Loumi and Abir Moussi, a staunch supporter of veteran leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali who was ousted in the 2011 uprising.
Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defense policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by Parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.
The Independent High Electoral Authority (ISIE) received 29 applications on Aug. 2 over the first five days from the beginning of the race and 11 applications on the sixth day.
Government spokesman Iyad Dahmani confirmed in a press statement that Chahed’s candidacy does not necessarily mean he must resign from his current post.
Dahmani pointed out that the premier will delegate his powers to a minister in the same government.

FASTFACT

The Sept. 15 vote follows the death of Beji Caid Essebsi, the first president to be democratically elected in Tunisia after the popular uprising of 2011. It will be the third free election in Tunisia since that uprising.

“It is impossible to form a government during this sensitive period, which is full of political deadlines,” he stressed.
The spokesman accused supporters of Chahed’s resignation of “attempting to overthrow the entire government and disrupt the presidential and parliamentary elections” in the country.
“Anyone who is seeking my resignation is in fact aiming to delay the elections and my resignation means the resignation of the government,” Chahed said.
Local political sources have indicated that Chahed will delegate Kamel Morjane, former head of the Initiative Party that has fully merged with Tahya Tounes.
They explained that his move aims at satisfying those who have disapproved the unified electoral lists, whose members will run in the parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct. 6.


Damascus angered by Turkish army convoy heading for key Syria town

Updated 1 min 44 sec ago

Damascus angered by Turkish army convoy heading for key Syria town

  • Dozens from both sides have been killed in the latest fighting
  • Syrian and Russian airstrikes aimed at hindering the convoy’s advance through Idlib province

DAMASCUS: Damascus on Monday condemned the deployment of a Turkish military convoy toward a key town in northwestern Syria where regime forces are waging fierce battles with militants and rebels.
“Turkish vehicles loaded with munitions... are heading toward Khan Sheikhun to help the terrorists... which confirms once again the support provided by the Turkish regime to terrorist groups,” a foreign ministry source quoted by the state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported Syrian and Russian airstrikes aimed at hindering the convoy’s advance through Idlib province.
The Idlib region is supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal signed between government ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey in September.
But it was never fully implemented, as militants refused to withdraw from the planned demilitarized zone.
On Sunday pro-regime forces entered Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province for the first time since they lost control of it in 2014.
They are battling to seize a key highway connecting government-held Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo, which the regime retook from rebels in December 2016.
Dozens from both sides have been killed in the latest fighting.
Militant group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, controls most of Idlib province as well as parts of the neighboring provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia.