Tunisian defence minister Abdelkarim Zbidi submitted his candidacy on Wednesday for a nearly presidential election expected to take place on Sept. 15.

Zbidi, 69, an independent supported by liberal parties including Nidaa Tounes and afek Tounes, is likely to be among leading candidates in the election, to be held early following the death of president Beji Caid Essebsi last month.

Earlier, Tunisia’s Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party announced a presidential candidate for the first time Wednesday, ahead of polls next month.

“The party’s advisory council has voted by a majority of 98 votes in favour of Abdelfattah Mourou’s candidacy at the presidential election,” Ennahdha said in a statement.

Mourou, 71, was appointed interim parliamentary speaker following the death last month of president Beji Caid Essebsi.

The Ennahdha politician had previously served as the deputy speaker, and changed roles after the then parliamentary head Mohamed Ennaceur stepped up as interim president.

The party’s announcement marks “the first time in its history that the movement puts forward a candidate for the presidential elections,” spokesman Imed Khmiri said.

Ennahdha won the first polls after the 2011 uprising which ousted autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and is currently the largest party in parliament.