A retired law professor with an awkward public manner, little money, no political party and a commitment to an experimental form of direct democracy looks set to be Tunisia's new president.
Two exit polls projected that Kais Saied handily won Sunday's runoff election against media magnate Nabil Karoui, though no formal results have been announced.
Saied won the support of both Islamists and leftists, though his radical but socially conservative politics do not neatly chime with either group. It has left both his critics and supporters scrambling to define him.
“I did not make traditional promises or a traditional program... but new ideas that can be realized.. today we entered a new stage in the history of Tunisia,” he told Reuters after the first round of the election in September.
Tunisians also gave him most votes in the first round against an array of veteran political leaders, the sharpest rejection of Tunisia's ruling elite since the 2011 uprising that ushered in democratic rule.
“He convinced us that change is possible and in our own hands,” said Bassam Naffati, a 22-year-old biology student who volunteered for Saied's campaign.
The balding, 61-year-old, speaking in his usual ultra-formal style of classical Arabic, has described his success as “like a new revolution”.
Though he did well in opinion polls for months, his lack of an established political or media base made him something of a dark horse and a less familiar figure to many Tunisians than Karoui.
Both are relative outsiders, but they are very different.
The wealthy, slickly presented Karoui has a television station and a large election team. He spent most of the election period in custody on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering, which he denies.
Supporters of Saied, who spent so little on his campaign that Tunisians say it cost the price of a coffee and a packet of cigarettes, present him as a paragon of personal integrity.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر