Tunisian interim Prime Minster Mehdi Jomaa has announced he will not be standing in the presidential elections that are scheduled to take place in November.

Jomaa made the announcement at a press conference on 17 September.

There had been intense speculation that the popular technocrat could become the country’s next president after Rashid a-Ghannushi, the leader of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, suggested that Jomaa could stand as an independent consensus candidate.

The presidential vote is set to take place after a parliamentary election in October that is expected to be fiercely contested by Ghannushi’s Ennahda and its rival Nidaa Tunis, a secular party that includes several officials from the exiled former leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s era.

Tunisia has seen a significant stabilisation over 2014, voting through a constitution in January and a sweeping electoral law in May, but many analysts fear escalating tensions surrounding the upcoming elections could be accompanied by a rise in political violence.

Over recent months, the government has organised a crackdown on the militant group Ansar al-Sharia and launched a military campaign against Islamist fighters in the Chaambi Mountains on the border with Algeria.

In 2013, the assassination of the secular politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi sent shockwaves through the country, causing significant delays to its post-revolutionary political transition.