Nicknamed “the robot”, Kais Saied has run a shrewd and hard campaign, with almost no advertising, on a message of integrity and anti-corruption targeted at young Tunisian voters.
The poll said the law professor, 61, had secured 76% of the votes. No official results have been published. He was up against media mogul Nabil Karoui, 56, who campaigned from prison after being arrested on charges of money laundering and tax fraud.
He denies the charges and officials have warned he may appeal, arguing he has not been allowed a fair campaign. Mr Karoui, who was freed by a court order just four days ago, came second in the first round of voting, with 15.6% of the vote to Mr Saied’s 18.4%.
Tunisia’s privately owned radio station Mosaique FM quoted a member of the country’s Independent Higher Authority for Elections, Adel Brinsi, as saying that turnout has “exceeded 50%”.