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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi dies at 92

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has died, hospitalised with a severe illness in late June, he was returned to intensive care early Thursday, where he died, according to his son.

The 92-year-old leader was rushed to the intensive care at the military hospital, where he later died today

Essebsi, the oldest head of state after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, appeared feeble in a video released by his office on Monday of a meeting at the defence ministry.

Essebsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, came to power in 2014, three years after the Arab Spring uprising toppled longtime despot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked revolts in several Arab nations.

A veteran politician, Essebsi served as an adviser to Habib Bourguiba, the father of Tunisia’s independence from France, holding a number of key jobs under him and later under Ben Ali.

Over the years, Essebsi was director general of the national police and interior minister. He later held the defence portfolio before becoming ambassador to France.

He became prime minister after the 2011 uprising and organised parliamentary elections later that year.

Essebsi is the founder and chairman of the secularist Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunis) party.

In April, he said he did not plan to stand for re-election in polls due to be held in November this year in order to make way for someone younger.

Presidential elections are scheduled for November 17, after parliamentary elections which have been set for October 6.

Essebsi has neither rejected nor enacted an amended electoral code passed by parliament in June that would bar the way for several strong candidates in the upcoming polls.

The restrictions would rule out the candidacy of media magnate Nabil Karoui, charged earlier this month with money laundering, who has formed a political party and stated his intention to stand in the poll.

SourceAFP

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