Law professor Kais Saied, who won the most votes over the weekend in the first round of Tunisia’s presidential election, said Tuesday he is prepared to work through consensus to improve the country.
Following the announcement of the official results of round one by the Independent High Electoral Commission, Saied spoke to reporters at the center where he has been carrying out his election campaign.
He said he and those working with him would not be hostile towards anyone and would work for the country with all its components and diversities.
“Everybody should be assured that we know our geography and history. We want respect for the nation and its sovereignty,” he said.
“Tunisia will remain open to the world.”
Saied called on people who did not cast ballots to head to the polls in the second round.
According to the official results released by the Independent High Electoral Commission, Saied received 18.4% of the vote and media mogul Nabil Karoui 15.6%.
Abdelfattah Mourou of the Ennahda movement came in third with 12.88% of the more than 434,000 votes cast but did not qualify for the second round.
Out of more than 7 million eligible to vote in the North African nation, some 3.46 million people cast ballots.
Appeals of the first-round results can be lodged Wednesday and Thursday, while the second round is expected to be held no later than Oct. 13, according to the commission.
The polls follow the death this July of Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia’s first freely elected president.
In Tunisia’s electoral system, a candidate needs a majority of votes to win the presidential election. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in the first round, the two candidates with the most votes face off in a second decisive round.
*Writing by Sena Guler
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