Tunisian presidential elections will commence today whilst the nation’s economy continues to contract

Presidential elections will be held today in Tunisia. With the country’s unemployment rate hovering above 15% and inflation sitting at 6.7%,

tunisia elections 1

Photo: AJLabs

Presidential elections will be held today in Tunisia. With the country’s unemployment rate hovering above 15% and inflation sitting at 6.7%, the economy is weighing heavily on Tunisians’ minds.

Owner of the popular Nessma TV station, Nabil Karoui—currently imprisoned on financial charges—is polling slightly ahead of the other 26 candidates. Famous for his charity work, the strongly anti-establishment candidate is promising quick economic relief by easing private business restrictions.

With 46% of Tunisians supporting military rule, 41% a one-party system and 35% an end to elections, the effectiveness of democratic institutions will also be a deciding factor for many voters. Two other leading candidates, Abir Moussi and Abdelfattah Mourou, have focused their respective campaigns on political reform. While Moussi wants to strengthen the president’s power, Mourou’s focus is on increasing Islam’s role in governance.

As the election will be tight, expect a second run-off on November 3. With the economy in greater turmoil than it was before the Arab Spring, Karoui’s lead suggests that Tunisians are trending away from engaging the political system.