Beji Caid Essebsi
Beji Caid Essebsi

Tunisia’s first freely elected President, Beji Caid Essebsi, has died aged 92, the country’s presidency says.

He was the world’s oldest sitting president. He was admitted to hospital on Wednesday but officials did not say why he was receiving treatment.

Essebsi won Tunisia’s first free elections in 2014 following Arab uprisings across the region.

He was admitted to hospital last month after suffering what officials said was a severe health crisis.

They gave no further details at the time. But Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, who visited him in hospital, urged people to stop spreading “fake news” about his condition.

Seven days of national mourning have been declared following his death. The speaker of parliament, Mohamed Ennaceur, is to take over as interim president.

He told a meeting of his ruling Nidaa Tounes party that someone younger should take charge. He said it was time to “open the door to the youth”.

The elections will now be held before the scheduled date on 17 November, according to the country’s electoral commission.



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