Beji Caid Essebsi, first Tunisian president elected democratically passes away

Beji Caid Essebsi played a key role in shaping Tunisia’s future after the 2010-2011 revolution

President Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia’s first freely and democratically elected president in a post-revolution era, died Thursday.

He had been leading the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings in the Arab world.

Late Beji Caid Essebsi, who was 92, bridged two eras in Tunisian history, serving first as a senior officer in the autocratic regimes of the 1950s and playing a major role in shaping Tunisia’s future after the 2010-2011 revolution and was elected to the presidency in 2014.

Speaker of the House of the People’s Representatives (HPR) Mohamed Ennaceur Thursday took the oath of office before HPR members bureau as interim president in the wake of the death of President of the Republic Béji Caid Essebsi.

 In the event of a definitive vacancy, as set out in the 2014 Constitution, the HPR Speaker will immediately be vested with the functions of the president of the republic on a temporary basis for forty-five to ninety days.

An oath-taking ceremony took place during a meeting convened by the HPR Bureau following the reception of a death certificate of Béji Caid Essebsi and the notification by the Provisional Authority for the Review of the Constitutionality of Draft Laws of the definitive vacancy, in accordance with Articles 84 and 85 of the Constitution.

Members of the HPR Bureau recited the Fatiha in the memory of Béji Caid Essebsi

Born to an elite family in Sidi Bou Said city in 1926, Essebsi’s political career started in 1941 with the Neo Dostour Youth, where he acted as a lawyer for the organization’s activists. He became an adviser to Mr. Bouguiba in 1956, following Tunisia’s independence from France.

Between the late 1950s through the 1970s he served as a security official, becoming minister of interior from 1965 to 1969 and minister of defence from then until 1970. He served as foreign minister from 1981 to 1986 and as prime minister from February to December 2011.

After defeating his rival candidate  Moncef Marzouki, in 2014’s presidential elections, Essebsi promised to restore political and economic stability to the country as it transitioned to democratic rule.


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