The imprisoned Tunisian media entrepreneur and candidate for the presidential election, Nabil Karoui, was released from pre-trial detention. The Court of Cassation, the highest court in the country, has ordered his immediate release, as Karoui's party Qalb Tounes ("Heart of Tunisia") announced. Shortly thereafter, Karoui left the prison under the eyes of supporters.
The politician was arrested at the end of August on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion, just ten days before the election campaign. He described the allegations as politically motivated. In the first ballot in September, he received the second most votes and landed behind the independent law professor Kais Saïed. In the parliamentary election on 6 October his party also achieved the second best result behind the Islamic Ennahda party. The second ballot of the presidential election will take place on 13 October.
Karoui and his party had pressed for release in order to continue the election campaign before the vote on Sunday. His opponent Saïed had also campaigned for his release: He also would not campaign while his opponent was in prison. With Saïed and Karoui two candidates for the run-off election, none of which had previously held a political office.
The success of the two candidates who prevailed in the first round of the election against incumbent Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and Ennahda party candidates was interpreted as a sign of increasing voterism among voters. More than eight years after the Arab Spring, high unemployment, inflation and inefficient administration are a big problem for Tunisia, especially young people are frustrated.