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

Tunisia's first democratically elected president Beji Caid Essebsi dies at 92

ANI | Updated: Jul 26, 2019 02:12 IST

Tunis [Tunisia], July 26 (ANI): Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi, the first democratically elected leader of the North African country, breathed his last at the age of 92 on Thursday.
Al Jazeera confirmed tye new of demise quoting the President's Office that- "Essebsi, one of the world's oldest leaders, died at the Tunis military hospital on Thursday morning."
The late president was hospitalised after suffering from a severe illness in late June, but returned to intensive care on Thursday, according to his son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi.
Essebsi became the interim prime minister in 2011 after the uprising 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.
This year, the late president had announced that he would not stand in elections expected 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.
Though Tunisia remained a democratic exception in a troubled region, critics accused Essebsi of attempting a dynastic handover to his son, rowing back on some post-revolution freedoms, and failing to support a truth commission seeking justice for the victims of authoritarian rule.
Meanwhile, critics have raised concerns regarding a potential power vacuum in Tunisia ahead of the November presidential elections. (ANI)