Tunisian Prime Minister submits presidential bid

Tunisian Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, on Friday, submitted an application to run for president, making him one of the likely frontrunners in the country’s polls in September.

His liberal Tahya Tounes Party unanimously picked him as its candidate in the Sept. 15 early elections, the official Tunisian news agency TAP reported.

Chahed’s bid comes before the deadline for potential candidates to apply ends later on Friday.

Chahed, 43, is one of more than 50 presidential hopefuls, who have reportedly applied to run for president.

They include former Defence Minister, Abdelkarim Zibid; Abdelfattah Morou of the influential moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement; ex-interim President, Moncef Marzouki, and ex-Prime Minister, Mehdi Jomaa.

The electoral commission is expected to announce the eligible contenders later this month.

On July 25, Tunisia’s first democratically elected president Beji Essebsi died five months before the end of his term.

As a result, the country’s presidential election, originally scheduled for Nov. 17, was pushed forward to Sept. 15 due to his death.
Essebsi was elected president in December 2014 and subsequently steered Tunisia through its democratic transition in the wake of the 2011 revolt that toppled long-time autocrat Zine Ben-Ali.

The North African country is widely seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab Spring revolts but has struggled with an economic slowdown and social unrest.