By Imen Blioua | Nov 19 2014Abderrahim Zouari ,Abel Raouef Ayedi ,Democratic Alliance ,Dostourian Movement ,Mohamed Hamdi ,
With Tunisia’s presidential election four days away and election ballots already printed, five candidates out of the registered twenty seven have announced their withdrawal from the race.
Abel Raouef Ayedi of the Wafa Movement, Abderrahim Zouari of the Dostourian Movement, the Democratic Alliance’s Mohamed Hamdi, and two independent candidates Nour Eddine Hached and Mostafa Kamel Nabli have all withdrawn their candidacies from what will be the third free elections in the country’s history.
Wafa (English: Loyalty) Movement candidate Abel Raouef Ayedi declared his withdrawal from the presidential race today in statement published in his party’s facebook page. Ayedi described the result of 2014 legislative elections as a “soft coup” with the comeback of old regime figures, and criticized the media’s role in sugar-coating the image of the old regime as well as the use of money in campaigns. He concluded by accusing the presidential election of taking the same trajectory as legislative one–”confiscating voters’ freedom through a corrupt game of money and foreign financial and political support.”
Ayedi’s move follows those of four other diverse candidates, all of whom have chosen to leave the race in the last 20 days. Independent candidate Nour Eddine Hached pulled out of the presidential race on Monday, November 17 with an announcement on Al Wataniya TV, citing the bipolarization of parties as a major reason for his move.
Independent Mostafa Kamel Nabli also announced his decision to withdraw on Monday during an appearance on Nessma TV, claiming that his presidential campaign was interrupted by that of incumbent president Moncef Marzouki a week after it began. He claimed to have witnessed the same “atmosphere of violence and terror” in the early weeks of his campaign that he “thought would have been stopped after the national dialogue in Tunisia.”
Nabli accused this year’s campaign of being rife with corruption and manipulation, and vowed to have no part of it. “The political money is the main controller of the election game,” he said, and “the rules of the democracy game are disfigured and corrupted.” He concluded that there is “no place for efficiency and public interest” and that he “refuses to be part of this ‘game’!”
Dostourian candidate Abderrahim Zouari released an official statement declaring his withdrawal on October 30. Zouari pointed to his support for Nidaa Tounes leader and popular presidential candidate Beji Caid Essebsi as underlying his decision, telling Tunisia Live, “In the legislative elections, there was a massive use of tactical voting which produced a new political direction. The message of Tunisians through the previous elections was clear. That is why I’m supporting Caid Essebsi’s candidacy–for Tunisia’s sake.”
Mohamed Hamdi, presidential candidate for the Democratic Alliance, also announced his official withdrawal on Mosaique FM radio station on November 5. Hamdi cited his party’s poor performance in October’s legislative elections–claiming just one seat in the People’s Assembly–as the primary factor behind his move. Hamdi also pointed to the failure of his meeting with NCA speaker and Ettakatol leader Ben Jaafar, which was intended as an initiative to choose a consensus presidential candidate but produced no agreement.
Election Law states in Chapter 5, article 32 that the withdrawal of a candidate must be submitted no later than 15 days before election day. Candidates who announce their withdrawal after this deadline will not be removed from the ballot list, however they will not be considered in the results.