Late Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (File photo)
Late Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (File photo)

Deeply saddened by Tunisian President Essebsi's demise: India

ANI | Updated: Jul 26, 2019 20:06 IST

New Delhi [India], July 26 (ANI): India on Friday expressed its condolences over the demise of Tunisia's first democratically-elected President Beji Caid Essebsi, who died at the age of 92, saying he would be remembered for his contribution to strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
"We are deeply saddened by the demise of H.E. Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi, President of the Republic of Tunisia on 25 July 2019. President Essebsi was a great leader and patriot who was instrumental in the peaceful democratic transition of Tunisia," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
It said that Essebsi was a staunch defender of democratic values and worked tirelessly for the well-being of the people of Tunisia.
"President Essebsi will be remembered for his significant contribution to the strengthening of bilateral ties between India and Tunisia. The Government and people of India convey their deepest condolences to the Government and people of Tunisia and to the family on this great loss," the MEA said.
Essebsi breathed his last at the Tunis military hospital on Thursday morning after suffering from a severe illness in late June, his son Hafedh Caid Essebsi said.
Essebsi became the interim prime minister in 2011 after a popular revolt that ended the 23-year rule of former ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The revolt in Tunisia ignited anti-government protests and rebellions across North Africa and the Middle East that became known collectively as the Arab Spring.
However, in 2014, Essebsi became the first Tunisian president to be elected in a free and fair election.
Earlier this year, Essebsi had announced that he would not stand in elections scheduled to be held in November, saying someone younger should take charge.
As prime minister, he helped draft a new democratic constitution guaranteeing fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and preparing Tunisia for free elections. (ANI)