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TV debate between presidential candidates in Tunisia

Candidates for the presidential election in Tunisia, Ennahdha Party's Abdelfattah Mourou (3rd R), Al-Irada's Moncef Marzouki (R), Alternative Party's Mehdi Jomaa (2nd L), Free Destourian Party's Abir Moussa (4th R), Democratic Current party Mohamed Abbou (2nd R), independent candidate Naci Cellul (3rd L), Tunisia Forward's Abid Briki (4th L) and independent candidate Omar Mansour (L) attend a discussion program ahead of the Presidential election in Tunisia, on 7 September 2019 in Tunis, Tunisia. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]
Candidates for the presidential election attend a discussion program ahead of the Presidential election in Tunisia on 7 September 2019 in Tunis, Tunisia [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

An election debate, entitled The Road to Carthage, was aired Saturday night in Tunisia, for the first time in the country’s history, reported Anadolu Agency.

Earlier this month, Tunisian national television announced that it would air, for the first time, debates between the candidates for the presidential elections. Live discussions entitled, The Road to Carthage, would be broadcasted, during which all candidates would be invited to discuss their election programs.

The questions addressed to the candidates revolved around foreign diplomacy, national security, and the various initiatives that candidates will take.

The debates are launched about a week before the voting day, which will be on 15 September.

The televised debates will be carried on for three days, starting from Saturday, and each session will last two and a half hours.

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The first session of the debate took place between Ennahda candidate Abdelfattah Mourou, independent candidate Omar Mansour, candidate from the Democratic Current, Mohamed Abbou, the Free Destourian Party candidate, Abir Moussi, independent candidate Naji Djelloul, and the Tunisian Alternative Party candidate, Mehdi Jomaa, as well as Heart of Tunisia candidate Nabil Karoui, Al-Irada candidate, Moncef Marzouki, and the Tunisia Forward movement, Obeid Briki.

It is noteworthy that Nabil Karoui’s spot was vacant during the debate, as he is currently detained in prison.

Earlier, a judicial body issued on 23 August an arrest warrant against Nabil Karoui and his brother Ghazi, pre-trial detention, on charges of tax evasion and money laundering.

The debate was aired on 11 television channels, including two government channels. Also, about 20 local radios have broadcasted it on air.

In a statement, Tunisian television said that the questions and discussions were prepared in secret.

Twenty-six candidates are competing in the presidential elections, most notably Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, Interim Speaker of parliament Abdelfattah Mourou, and Defence Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi.

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