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Tunisia's new low-profile president defies definition

Tunisians are waiting to learn more about the political and intellectual identity of their new president, Kais Saied.
Tunisia's new President Kais Saied and outgoing President Mohamed Ennaceur leave the Carthage Palace in Tunis, Tunisia October 23, 2019REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi - RC1B77422100

TUNIS, Tunisia — Kais Saied, a low-key candidate with zero political office experience, secured an overwhelming 72.7% of the votes in this month's election to become Tunisia's sixth president. He was sworn in Oct. 23 before parliament, pledging to preserve the foundations of the state, uphold the law, preserve freedoms and promote women's rights in particular.

Since he declared victory in the second round of the presidential election Oct. 13, people have been speculating about what to expect. Saied, 61, is a former law professor who has never held office and is not affiliated with any specific political party; he ran as an independent candidate. The man's expression, when he has one, has been described as stolid, his profile as plain. He's been nicknamed "RoboCop." Yet he won over the country's youth. His supporters come from diverse circles.

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