Tunisia: Exit pool predicts Kais Said as the next country’s president

Kais Saied is a former professor of constitutional law who ran as an Independent in the 2019 Tunisian presidential election is predicted to be the next country’s president.

Tunisian protesters during the Arab spring revolution

Saied received 620,711 votes in the first round of the 2019 Tunisian presidential election, coming in first place and moved on to face Karoui in the second round.

In a contest that reflected Tunisia’s shifting post-revolution political landscape, Saied, an independent, scooped 72.5 percent of the vote according to the Emrhod exit poll on Sunday, and 76.9 percent in the Sigma one over 40 points ahead of Karoui.

Karoui, 56, has been tarnished by corruption allegations which he denies. He was released from jail on Wednesday after spending more than a month in custody on money-laundering and tax evasion charges.

Karoui, a media mogul, presents himself as an advocate of Tunisia’s poor and marginalised as the head of the recently founded centre-left Heart of Tunisia party.

Both topped the election’s first round on September 15, defeating contenders from mainstream political parties.

The publication of the exit polls triggered celebrations at Saied’s election campaign offices in central Tunis, as fireworks were set off outside and supporters honked car horns.

Saied was one of the first declared candidates in the 2019 Tunisian presidential election. Running as an Independent social conservative, he has sought to appeal to younger voters.

One of his policies included support for allowing citizens to recall their elected officials. Saied suggested to voters that many of Tunisia’s current issues were due to “non-respect for many constitutional laws”. He presented a plan to combat corruption, whether it is “moral or financial”.

Several media sources have referred to Saied as “RoboCop”, given his monotonous voice, his use of Standard Arabic rather than Tunisian dialect, and his focus on law and order issues. On the campaign trail, Saied portrayed himself as a man of the people, somewhat similarly to Nabil Karoui, another populist candidate.

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