By RFIPosted on 09-16-2019 Modified the 16-09-2019 at 21:00

In Tunisia, the counting of a majority of ballots places Kaïs Saied at the head of the presidential election. How to explain such popularity for this austere, conservative and antisystem candidate, academic without a political party, qualified by observers of "UFO" politics?

Kaïs Saïed appeared in the polls in the spring, but his score today in the Tunisian presidential election anticipated defying observers. His campaign was discreet. Kaïs Saïed did not seek to organize meetings to be in the light. He bet on the field and door-to-door, with few means: a modest campaign seat installed in a small apartment and a small campaign team.

He held no rally and presided over a grand meeting before the first round. The 61-year-old kept repeating that he was independent, that he refused any help and that he was campaigning with his own resources. This sobriety has affected many Tunisians who face the degradation of their living conditions.

An ascetic " Monsieur Propre "

His retrograde positions on social issues, whether the death penalty or homosexuality, did not make him the favorite. But his conservatism has clearly not put off those who want to end the system. " He has benefited from the wind of" dégagisme " says Mouhieddine Cherbib, an observer of political life. Kais Saïd enjoys an image of "Monsieur Propre" and lives modestly. People can identify with him . "

Man of the shadow, Kaïs Saïed has not less worked his image and his reputation in recent years, which probably explains its success. Since 2011, he comments on political life in the media, particularly on the national channel. His expertise as a jurist has placed him above the fray and quarrels between so-called modernist and Islamist forces. Throughout the campaign, he also criticized these political elites and the hypercentralization of power: a populist speech that hit the mark, especially among young people.

He is known to the general public for having furrowed the media by decrypting the establishment of the post-revolutionary democracy, then at the time of the adoption of the Constitution to popularize and explain its least articles. He has been able in recent weeks to deliver his uncompromising analyzes of the state of Tunisia, advocating decentralization to empower the people. " I'm not here to sell you a dream, " he said in the markets they visited, sharply criticizing the ruling elites.

His score also marks a new stage in the democratic transition that, eight years after the revolution, has disappointed voters by its limited impact in their daily lives. After exhausting the revenues of the traditional parties to revive the economy, voters turned to this candidate out of frame, disconnected from the elite, but who knew, by his frank words and his ascetic way of life, to mark the spirits.

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