Tunisia: Presidential candidates withdraw from race

Tunisia: Presidential candidates withdraw from race
Several of the 27 candidates for Tunisia's top job have pulled out from the race to Carthage.
2 min read
20 November, 2014
Some candidates argue the presidential elections have become a two-man contest [Anadolu]

Just four days before the Tunisian presidential elections, five candidates have withdrawn from the race. Mohammad Hamdi, Abdel Rahim Zouari, Noureddine Hached, Mustafa Kamel Nabli and Abdel Raouf Ayadi have all pulled out.

Nabli, an independent candidate and former central bank governor, was previously confident he could win the race.

He said his withdrawal was to help voters unite "in the country's best interests". It is thought he is throwing his support behind a "consensus candidate" to beat interim President Moncef Marzouki, though it is not yet clear who. Nabli has accused Marzouki of using rhetoric that incites violence.

     Elections have become polarised between Marzouki and Essebsi.

Hached said he withdrew because elections have become polarised between Marzouki, leader of the Congress for the Republic party, and Beji Caid Essebsi head of Nidaa Tounes ["Call of Tunisia"].

Independent candidate Mehrez Boussayene told al-Araby al-Jadeed that he had decided to keep running because dropping out would aid both Marzouki and Essebsi. He argued Tunisia needed an independent head of state who could stand at equal distance from all parties.

Secretary-General of the Democratic Alliance Party Mohammad Hamdi, who was the first to drop out, believes further candidates will withdraw as election day comes ever closer.

Tayeb Baccouche, secretary-general of Nidaa Tounes, told al-Araby he believed Nabli's decision was "personal".

Nabli's criticisms of Marzouki were "unacceptable", said the Nidaa Tounes leader - especially as Marzouki holds the office of president. Nabli has a personal grievance against Marzouki after the president sacked him as governor of the Central Bank, said Baccouche.

Ennahdha's Secretary-General Hamadi Jebali was expressing a personal opinion that did not reflect the party's position when he posted on Facebook calling for people not to vote for Essebsi, the party spokesman said.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.