Monday, vote counting continues in Tunisia’s early presidential election.
According to opinion polls, independent candidate and constitutional law Professor Kais Saied is leading the results and will be in the second round, followed by the head of the “Heart of Tunisia” party Nabil Karoui, while Ennahdha announced its adherence to the official results of the Independent High Authority for Elections.
Ennahdha leader Ali Laarayedh commented on these results and stressed that the movement is waiting for “the official results.” He went on to explain that after that, the party will “determine our position on whether Mr Abdelfattah Mourou will be our candidate in the second round.”
He told Arabi21 that Ennahdha’s goal is “to support a candidate who is eager to protect the revolution and its objectives.”
In response to a question concerning Ennahdha’s potential support of Kais Saied in case Mourou failed to reach the second round, Laarayedh stressed: “I do not want to mention names, but I would like to specify the criteria of the person we will support, which revolve around the candidate’s keenness on protecting the revolution, credibility, and honesty.”
As for the passage of an independent candidate to the second round, Laarayedh said that “the results should be studied and lessons are to be drawn. The results of the first round sent a message to Ennahdha and other parties, as the low participation rate and reluctance to vote unveiled the state of anxiety and despair among Tunisian citizens.”
He explained that “the number of voters who voted for the parties is large. However, the victory of an independent candidate is a sign of anger towards parties and political leadership and therefore constitutes a great indicator for the role of parties as well as their relationship with each other and with the public. Thus, the malfunction resides at large in problems and conflicts between political parties.”
He continued: “There is an indication that issues were prominent in the public’s mind while voting namely the social issue and how close the candidate is to society, his awareness of the poor’s grievances and his bias to the popular classes.”
The second issue is “the candidate’s honesty and integrity, which sends important messages to parties. There is no doubt that there are other messages that parties will pay attention to, especially the effectiveness of the electoral plan of our party and the method of work in the election campaign.”