Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeLocal NewsTunisia declares mourning period after death of President Essebsi

Tunisia declares mourning period after death of President Essebsi

Parliament Speaker Mohamed Ennaceur sworn in as interim president; country to hold presidential vote on September 15

The Tunisian government has declared seven days of mourning following the death of Beji Caid Essebsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, as condolences poured in from the region and beyond.

In a ceremony hours after the death of the 92-year-old leader on Thursday, Mohamed Ennaceur, the head of parliament,was sworn in as interim president.

Ennaceur, 85, will lead the country until presidential elections are held on September 15, according to the Independent Electoral Commission. The presidential vote was originally scheduled for November 17.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed declared a seven-day mourning period and ordered flags at state institutions to be lowered to half-mast.

State news agency TAP reported that cultural and sports events have been halted in the country until further notice.

Transition to democracy

One of the world’s oldest leaders, Essebsi died on Thursday morning at the Tunis military hospital, where he was taken the night before. It was the third time in recent weeks that he had been hospitalised.

Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi dies at 92

His funeral has been planned for Saturday.

Essebsi was seen as a unifying figure but was ultimately unable to bring prosperity or lasting calm to a country beset by economic crises and fending off sporadic deadly attacks.

Drafted in as prime minister in 2011 after the toppling of longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali during the so-called Arab Spring uprising, Essebsi was elected president three years later, becoming the country’s first directly elected head of state after its Arab Spring uprising.

As prime minister, he helped draft a new democratic constitution guaranteeing fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and preparing Tunisia for free elections.

He also co-brokered an historic power-sharing deal between his Nidaa Tounes movement and Islamist party Ennahda that helped to steady the country, as other parts of the region such as Syria, Yemen or Libya struggled with upheaval and violence.

In recognition of their role, Tunisian civil society groups won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. 

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.

Essebsi recently announced he would not run in the election scheduled for November, saying a younger person should lead the country. 

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Observer. on SEX PILLS IN WATER
Dr. I.P.A. Manning on THE BAN OF POACHERS IN ZAMBIA
Lulumbi on EXPENSIVE WORSHIP
Patrick Bwalya on THE ALEX CHOLA FACT-FILE
Patrick BWALYA on DRIVER HACKED, LEFT FOR DEAD