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Tunisia starts registering presidential candidates

Forty-eight Tunisian politicians, four of whom are women, have said they intend to run in the upcoming Presidential elections
Tunisian MPs at plenary session of the Constituent Assembly in capital Tunis (AFP).

Tunisia's independent presidential election commission on Monday started receiving applications from would-be candidates for presidential polls slated for 23 November.  

Presidential hopefuls will be allowed to present their applications to the commission until 22 September.

Two potential candidates submitted applications in the first two hours of the registration period, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent.

Forty-eight Tunisian politicians had earlier expressed a desire to run in the polls, including four female candidates.

Veteran Tunisian politician Beji Caid el Sebsi, head of the Tunisian Call Party, had said he would run in the polls, while the Islamist Ennahda movement plans to refrain from fielding a candidate.

Ennahda had earlier said it would throw its weight behind a consensus candidate from outside the movement.

The Congress for the Republic Party, meanwhile, said it would support incumbent interim President Moncef Marzouki.

The Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties Party, for its part, said it would back the head of Tunisia's Constituent Assembly, Mustapha Ben Jafar, in the elections, while Hamma Hammami, leader of the Popular Front, said during National Day celebrations on 13 August that he also planned to contest the race.

Tunisia is also expected to hold parliamentary elections on 26 October, according to a law approved recently by the Tunisian Constituent Assembly.

The second round of presidential polls is also expected to be held before the end of this year, following the announcement of first-round results.

There are 190 political parties in Tunisia, most of which emerged following the 2011 uprising that ended the lengthy political career of former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

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