About 13,000 polling stations opened on Sunday for the second democratic presidential elections in the history of Tunisia.
Dozens of people waited in front of the polling stations before they opened at 8 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) to choose between the 26 candidates in the running.
While foreign attention, especially in Arab countries, is focused on the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, many Tunisians are watching the fate of media mogul Nabil Karoui, running from behind bars on suspicion of tax evasion, which he denies.
A court on Friday ruled he must stay behind bars after his arrest last month, leading his supporters to claim he has been silenced.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, as well as two former prime ministers, a former president and the defense minister are also among the 26 candidates hoping to win outright or, if none of them win more than 50 percent, to advance to a second round run-off.
Tunisia’s president has direct control over foreign and defense policy while most other portfolios are handled by a prime minister chosen by parliament.
Elections for the parliament will be held on October 6.