Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Voter turnout was down as Tunisia held its second free presidential elections on Sunday after the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi in July.
At the time the polls closed on Sunday, about 35 percent of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots, 30 percent fewer than the previous election.
Results of the election are expected to be released by Tuesday and if no candidate from the field of more than two dozen wins a majority, the two candidates who receive the most votes will face each other in a runoff election.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, Islamist leader Abdel-Fattah Mourou and businessman Nabil Karoui were among the frontrunners for the presidency.
Karoui, however, was arrested in August on charges of tax evasion and money laundering after leading in the polls as of May.
He has continued to run his campaign from prison and began a hunger strike on Wednesday to demand that the country respect his constitutional right to vote in the election.
The election was originally set to take place on Nov. 17, but the death of Essebsi, the 92-year-old incumbent, pushed the date forward.
Essebsi was elected in Tunisia's first democratic elections in 2014 after the Arab Spring protests in 2011.