TUNIS, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- For the first time in Tunisia, a total of 26 presidential candidates will face each other in televised debates during the election campaigns, which started Monday on the Tunisian territory and will continue until Sept. 13.
The debates will be live broadcast from Sept. 7 to Sept. 9 as part of a program entitled "the road to Carthage: Tunisia makes its choice" on TV channels and radio stations, according to local media.
The 26 candidates will be divided into three groups to debate for two hour and half hours on three major themes and discuss their specific programs.
These debates are organized by national television channel Wataniya, the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA), and Tunisia's Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) with the support of non-governmental organization Munathara.
Lassaad Kheder, president of the National Trade Union Chamber of Private Media and Broadcast, said on Tunisian radio station Express fm that "the debates will be organized according to specific criteria to guarantee transparency."
"Tunisia is at the gates of a historic event: for the first time, 11 television channels and more than 20 radio stations will transmit these debates," he added.
"The debates will be simultaneously broadcast on a number of local channels and take into account the principle of time equality in the interventions of candidates," said Mohamed Lassaad Dahesh, chief executive officer of the Tunisian state television, during a press conference held in Tunis a few days ago.
On Saturday, the first debate will gather nine candidates, including the candidate of Ennahdha Abdelfattah Mourou, former Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, former provisional President of the Republic Mohamed Moncef Marzouki.
In addition, Abir Moussi will be the only female in this debate to face the other males.
The second debate will gather the Minister of Defense Abdelkarim Zbidi and Mohsen Marzouk, founder of Machrou Tounes party.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed will participate the third debate scheduled on next Monday.