Tunis, Jul 25 : The world's oldest and Tunisia's first democratically elected President Beji Caid Essebsi passed away here at a military hospital in the national capital on Thursday.
He was 92. "This morning, on Thursday, July 25, 2019, the president of the Republic, Beji Caid Essebsi, passed away in a military hospital in Tunis," the presidential administration wrote on Facebook. According to latest reports, Essebsi was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday.
Mr Essebsi won Tunisia's first free elections in 2014 following the Arab Spring across the region. Earlier this year, he announced he would not stand in elections expected in November, BBC said in a report. Mr Essebsi was also admitted to hospital last month after suffering what officials said was a "severe health crisis". They gave no further details. Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, who visited him in hospital, urged people to stop spreading "fake news" about his condition.
Former Tunisian President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali was ousted in 2011 after 23 years in office. Since then, Tunisia has won praise as the only democracy to emerge from the revolutions of the Arab Spring. A veteran politician, Essebsi served as an adviser to Habib Bourguiba, the architect of Tunisia’s Independence from France, holding 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. (UNI)