Exit polls published Sunday evening by a number of polling firms showed a landslide victory for independent constitutional law professor Kaïs Saïed in Tunisia’s presidential runoff over his contender businessman Nabil Karoui with 76.90% of the vote.
Saïed commenting the poll results at the end of voting process pledged to carry the message of all Tunisians with honesty and “together build a new Tunisia”.
The independent candidate won the first round with over 18 per cent of vote. He received for the runoff the support of several parties including future parliament majority party Ennhadha.
Karoui of Qalb Tounes party conceded at a press conference defeat but pinned it on his detention noting that it changed everything.
Karoui was freed only 48 hours ahead of the runoff. The media mogul was arrested in August on money laundering and tax evasion charges. Authorities had frozen his assets in June over the same charges.
Though in prison, Karoui came in second during the first round, with over 15 per cent of votes.
Nabil karoui who blamed Ennhadha for orchestrating his arrest and for staining his image said, on Sunday evening, he will wait for the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) to announce the official results to take the right positions after consulting with the party’s base and its political bureau.
Speaking at a press briefing at his campaign headquarters, he added that will be in the opposition but will not stand against programs offered by the winning party if they are in line with his electoral platform, reported the Tunisian news agency TAP.
He added that his party will give way to those who won the legislative elections to implement their programs and form the government.
Karoui said the way is still ahead as his party represents the second bloc in the parliament, adding that Qalb Tounes will work to achieve cohesion in the coming period in order to defend its principles and achieve the aspirations of one million voters who gave the party their confidence, added TAP.
He said that the presidential election “cannot be described as a bright event because of the abuse and harassment that ended with his imprisonment for nearly 50 days and prevented him from campaigning and his release 48 hours before the polling date.”
Karoui also imputed the big difference between him and his opponent according to exit polls to his “unfair imprisonment” after he announced his candidacy for the presidential elections.
In the same context, Karoui said that “despite his psychological and physical condition and lack of readiness, he had preferred to go ahead and complete his campaign and face his contender as soon as he was released from prison instead of going to the clinic,” TAP said.