Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed arrives to submit his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia's independent electoral body says 26 candidates have qualified to run in the country's early presidential election on Sept. 15, out of 96 who were seeking the job.

The number of candidates could increase when the final list is announced on Aug. 31, after the appeals process.

Among those sure to bid for Tunisia's highest office, according to Wednesday's announcement, are Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and his defense minister who resigned to run in the presidential race, Abdelkrim Zbidi. Lawyer Abdelfattah Mourou plans to be a candidate for Islamist party Ennahdha, which now holds the most seats in parliament.

The early election follows the July 25 death of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, 92, the North African nation's first democratically elected president.

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, left, arrives to submit his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia. Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed submits his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, center, arrives to submit his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
LGBT activist Mounir Baatour holds a rainbow flag after submitting his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia. Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
LGBT activist Mounir Baatour holds a rainbow flag after submitting his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia. Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed submits his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia. Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian Defense Minister Abdelkrim Zbidi speaks to members of the media after submitting his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia. Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian Defense Minister Abdelkrim Zbidi, center, leaves after submitting his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia. Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
First Vice President of the Assembly Abdelfattah Mourou submits his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
First Vice President of the Assembly Abdelfattah Mourou submits his candidacy for the upcoming early presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
First Vice President of the Assembly Abdelfattah Mourou, center, and Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party leader Rachid Ghannouchi, right, pose for pictures after Mourou submitted his candidacy for the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
First Vice President of the Assembly Abdelfattah Mourou, right, and Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party leader Rachid Ghannouchi, pose for pictures after Mourou submitted his candidacy for the presidential elections in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)