Law professor faces jailed businessman in Tunisia presidential runoff

TUNIS, Kais Saied, one of Tunisia’s most notable professors of constitutional law, and Nabil Karoui, a jailed media magnate, have proceeded to the presidential election runoff.

While Saied garnered 18.4 percent of the vote, Karoui got 15.6 percent, according to the official results of the first round of polling announced earlier Tuesday by the country’s election commission.

The results shocked the political scene as both men held no political posts before contesting the Sunday polls but their profiles have nothing in common other than this aspect.

Saied got a bachelor degree in international law from the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of Tunis in 1985, a diploma from the Tunis-based International Academy for Constitutional Law (IACL) in 1986 and a diploma from the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) based in Sanremo, Italy, in 2001.

Born on February 22, 1958, Saied started his legal career as professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of Tunis in Sousse governorate in 1986 before serving as professor at the faculty of legal, political and social sciences in Tunis in 1999.

He served as member of the expert panel of the Arab League Secretariat in 1989. The panel was tasked with amending the League’s charter.

Saied, nicknamed “Robocop,” was the rapporteur of the special panel of the Arab League Secretariat to work out the blueprints of the basic system and internal statutes of the Arab court of justice. He also served as associate expert at the Arab Institute for Human Rights between 1993 and 1995.

After the ouster of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Saied stepped into the media spotlight to explain various legal and constitutional issues, but he turned down offers to hold official posts.

On the other hand, Karoui – the owner of Nessma TV channel, entered the presidential race as candidate of the Heart of Tunisia party, which he founded on June 20, 2019.

Born on August 1, 1963, he is one of the dominant players in the country’s audiovisual industry and CEO of Karoui and Karoui World – a global communication and advertisement agency combining graphic skills and technological expertise.

Karoui graduated from the institute of commerce in Marcelle, France, and began his career in marketing and sales for Colgate-Palmolive in Southern France.

He joined the German Henkel Co. before serving for two year at the North Africa division of Canal+ Group.

In 2002, he cofounded with his brother Ghazi the public relations firm Karoui and Karoui World, which spanned quickly across the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2007, Karoui founded Nessma satellite TV channel.

In 2013, He founded Ness Al-Khair – a charity, which was renamed in 2016 as Khalil Al-Khair after his deceased son Khalil.

The higher independent authority for audiovisual communication (HAICA) accused Nessma TV of unlicensed broadcasting and decided in last April to seize the equipment of the channel.

Based on a charge of tax evasion and money laundering filed against him by I Watch – a non-government organization, Karoui was arrested on August 23.

Many politicians and law experts cast doubts on the legality of candidacy of the jailed tycoon for presidency.

Both Saied and Karoui were able to defeat the other 22 hopefuls, most notably Ex-president Moncef Marzouki, former prime ministers Youssef Chahed and Mehdi Jomaa, as well as Defence Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi and Abdulfattach Mourou – the founder of the Islamist Ennahdha movement, the biggest party in Tunisia’s parliament.

Source: Kuwait News Agency