Twenty six candidates including two women have been approved by the Tunisia’s electoral commission for next month’s presidential election.
The September 15 polls are coming after the death of Beji Caid Essebsi in July, the first president to be democratically elected in Tunisia after the popular uprising of 2011. It will be the third free election in Tunisia since that uprising.
The two women candidates approved are former tourism minister Salma Loumi and Abir Moussi, a staunch supporter of veteran leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who was ousted in the 2011 uprising.
Tunisia was the spark for the Arab Spring revolts that toppled a number of authoritarian regimes around North Africa and the Middle East.
Among the other candidates approved for the presidential race are Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, former premier Mehdi Jomaa, the vice-president of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, Abdel Fattah Mourou, and Defence Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi.
Former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki and Nabil Karoui, businessman and owner of the private channel Nessma TV, will also join the race.
Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defense policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.