Tunisia: New President Kais Saied takes oath of Office


The low-profile law professor took the presidential oath of office before the parliament on Wednesday.

Saied’s victory delivered a heavy blow to the established political elite, who have failed to improve living standards or end corruption since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy in the North African country.

Saied, considered a political novice, scooped more than 70% of the vote. Young Tunisians comprised most of his supporters.

About 90 percent of 18-25 age bracket voted for Saied, according to estimates by the Sigma polling institute.

After his victory, the professor-turned-president thanked the country’s young people “for turning a new page” and vowed to try to build “a new Tunisia.”

Saied’s main rival in the presidential election runoff was media magnate Nabil Karoui, who was released from prison just recently.

Tunisia’s presidential candidate Nabil Karoui is released from prison and given a hero’s welcome by supporters, four days ahead of a runoff election.

Saied has been an outspoken critic of Israel and has explicitly said that he considers the establishment of any relations with the regime as “high treason.”

During a speech delivered at his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, he once again drew attention to the issue of Palestine, and voiced his opposition to the Israeli occupation.

The North African country’s president-elect Kais Saied says Tunisia is in a state of war with Israel, which makes any normalization efforts a criminal act.

Tunisia has been afflicted by chronic unemployment, high inflation, and budget deficit.

Saied’s monotonous voice, the use of Standard Arabic rather than the Tunisian dialect, as well as his focus on law and order issues have earned him the nickname “robocop.”

By Africafrique and agencies

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