Count Down to 2019 Tunisia Presidential Election: Karoui Still in Prison

Tunisia presidential election is fast approaching and the election campaign has gained high momentum. Tunisian’s have begun to count down to the election day – 15th September but one questions remains unanswered, “will Nabil Karoui, the 56-year- old presidential candidate be released before the election?”

The commencement of Tunisia election season saw the participation of 26 candidates, including business mogul and media entrepreneur Nabil Karoui. He is said to be the most prominent candidates running for the seat with current and past prime ministers, a former president, the defense minister and the representative of a major Islamist party.

Remember he was arrested on the 23rd of August along with his lawyer brother Ghazi Karoui on tax fraud and money laundering charges. His arrest made the Tunisia presidential election take a dramatic turn. Karoui has since then continued his campaign from his prison cell.

His party and supporters have accused his rival, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed who currently heads the government and is also running for the presidency seat as the mastermind behind his arrest. They question his arrest for an offense he allegedly committed in 2016 which wasn’t acted upon until now, few days to the election. They see this as a way of hampering his victory because he poses a great challenge to established parties.

There are also claims that prior to his arrest, Karoui was seen a leading contender and main rival of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed in the electoral race, after the death of former President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Although Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections (IHAE) still confirms his candidacy and that makes him remains eligible to run in the presidential race in spite of the ongoing prosecution, the court still withholds him in prison dismissing his request for release on Tuesday 3rd.

 In the recent development, IHAE has given Karoui the go-ahead to participate in the ongoing electoral TV debates. It approved a request to hold a televised talk with presidential candidate Nabil Karoui, to promoting equal opportunities among candidates as stated in Tunisian electoral law.

The approval has raised questions about whether he would be released before the elections on Sep. 15.

Related: Tunisia’s Elected President Beji Caid Essebsi Is Dead and Buried

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