Tunisia: Saied, Karoui advance to run-off after topping polls

Independent candidate Kais Saied and imprisoned media mogul Nabil Karoui have advanced to a run-off after obtaining the most votes in Tunisia's September 15 presidential election.

Both front runners - though very different - were seen as outsiders, drawing "anti-system" votes from an electorate disillusioned with the status quo.

Mistrust of the political establishment runs high in Tunisia, where unemployment is at 15% and the cost of living has risen by almost a third since 2016.

Saied, a fiercely independent academic, advocates radical decentralisation of power, with local democracy and the ability to remove elected officials from office during their mandates.

Karoui, who built his appeal on high-profile charity campaigns, is under investigation for alleged money laundering and has been in pre-trial detention since August 23.

He was unable to take part in televised debates before the vote and electoral monitors have voiced concern that voters have been deprived of a chance to hear him campaign.

The run-off vote will take place before October 23, the day when the interim leader Mohamed Ennaceur's mandate expires.

Tunisia will hold legislative elections on October 6.