Kais Saied sworn in as new Tunisian President

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Former Tunisian law professor Kais Saied on Wednesday took an oath of office as the North African country 8th President after a landslide victory in the presidential run-off held on October 13. He trounced his opponent media mogul Nabil Karoui.

The ceremony, which took place in the country’s parliament, was witnessed by members of parliaments and some of the top officials. In his speech, Saied vowed to fight corruption and terrorism and protect freedoms. He garnered 2.7 million votes equivalent to 72.71 per cent of total cast votes against 1 million (27.29 per cent) as announced by The Tunisia electoral commission. The commission said the turn-out was 55 per cent. Karoui who is facing corruption charges conceded the defeat on Monday, October 14.

Saied nicknamed “the robot” for his firm stand was overwhelmingly voted for by youths who praised him for being not corrupt. The youths claimed his opponents failed to transform the lives of Tunisians. The 61-year-old was an independent candidate, though backed and supported by the Ennahdha party.

The first round held on September 15 attracted 26 presidential hopefuls with none attaining 50 per cent of the cast votes as required by the constitution. Prof. Saied got 18.4 per cent, whereas Mr.Karoui managed 15.6 per cent. The elections were called following the death of Beji Caid Essebsi in July.

This is the second term the Arab nation has witnessed peaceful and democratic elections after the 2010-2011 revolution that ousted Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Photo: Al Jazeera