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Electoral body approves 26 candidates for Tunisian presidential race

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Tunis, Tunisia, August 31 (Infoplusgabon) - The Tunisian electoral body announced on Saturday the final list of candidates allowed to participate in the presidential election scheduled for September 15.


The list has 26 candidates including  businessman and boss of Nessma TV channel, Nabil Karoui, who has been detained since July 23 following a warrant of committal issued by the indictment chamber of the Court of Appeal of Tunis for "money laundering and tax evasion".


The candidacy of another businessman, also sued for money laundering, was retained by the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE). S



lim Riahi, who has been abroad for several months, filed his proxy application through his lawyer, a procedure authorized by law, according to the electoral body.



At a press briefing, ISIE President Nabil Baffoun said that these two candidates  remain valid until they are convicted by the courts.


"The fact that candidate Nabil Karoui is in prison concerns us, but the ISIE does not interfere in court cases and at the same time strives to ensure the candidates all their rights," said Baffoun.



In response to a question, he assured that if the judicial authority would authorize a media meeting with an incarcerated candidate during the election campaign, the ISIE will not oppose it. The campaign starts on 2 September and will run till 13 September.



The final list of successful candidates includes outgoing Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and Defence minister Abdelkrim Zbidi, considered by analysts as the main favourites to succeed President Béji Caïd Essebsi, who died on 25 July at age 92, just a few months before completing his five-year term.



Other personalities qualified as outsiders are also in the race. These are former President Moncef Marzouki, lawyer Abdelfattah Mourou, candidate of the Islamist party Ennahdha; former prime minister Mehdi Jomaa; former head of the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), the dominant party under the regime of former President Ben Ali, Abir Moussi; and lawyer and human rights activist Mohamed Abbou.







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