Tunisia to host second free election in the country since 2011 next month

On Sunday, citizens of the small North African nation Tunisia voted in the second free election in the country since 2011. Tunisia’s election commission announced that two political outsiders will move on to the run-off. One, Kaïs Saïed, is a little known law professor, and the other, Nabil Karoui, is a media mogul who is currently in jail on charges of tax evasion. The run-off election will occur at a not yet determined debate next month. ~

This election is a huge step towards building a democracy in the starting point of the Arab Spring. Starting in late 2010, protestors took to the streets of Tunisia to advocate against the corrupt and autocratic ruler of  Tunisia, Zine el-Abidine Ben Al. This movement spread to other majority Muslim countries such as Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Libya. These protests showed the world that Muslims in the Middle-East believed in the principles of democracy. However, many autocratic leaders were able to regain control of their respective nations, causing many to call the Arab Spring a failure. Despite this, the birthplace of the Arab Spring will have a peaceful transition of power. ~

Both presidential candidates that will be moving on to the run-off election are political outsiders and populists. Many see this as a means to show that Tunisians are exasperated by the political establishment and are ready to move on. The first candidate, Kaïs Saïed, is a little known law professor and constitutional expert. He ran an extremely barebones campaign and did not attempt to engage with voters on social media. While his policy goals are rather unclear, he has a stark anti-corruption streak and is considered an expert legal mind. The other candidate, Nabil Karoui, is a well known media magnate who runs a private television channel that publicizes his charity projects. He is a charismatic populist who has been compared to the former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi. However, he was arrested on year old charges of tax evasion and remains in prison. It is unclear whether Mr. Karoui would be released from jail if he was elected. ~

Information gathered from the New York Times and National Geographic.

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