Oct 10, 2019

Tunisian presidential contender released from jail before election

Nabil Karoui. Photo: Khaled Nasraoui/picture alliance via Getty

A Tunisian presidential contender who had campaigned from jail was released Wednesday ahead of Sunday's run-off.

Background: Nabil Karoui, a media mogul and philanthropist, was arrested in August on tax fraud charges he says were politically motivated. He ran his populist campaign from prison.

  • He'll face Kais Saied, a socially conservative former law professor, in a matchup of unorthodox candidates after voters emphatically rejected the political establishment in last month's first round.

Why it matters: Tunisia was the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring of 2011. But its progress looks fragile and the population is growing disillusioned. Some fear that if Karoui loses, he'll challenge the results on the basis of his arrest.

Go deeper: Preliminary results of Tunisia's parliamentary elections were announced Wednesday night. Ennahda, an Islamist party, finished first.

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