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First freely elected Tunisian president dies at 92

TUNISIA’s President Beji Caid Essebsi is dead. He died at the age of 92 on Thursday after suffering a health challenge.

Essebsi was one of the world’s oldest leaders and a prominent figure in Tunisia since the overthrow of  Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali who ruled Tunisia for 23 years, autocratically in 2011, according to BBC.

He died at the Tunis military hospital in the morning, where he had been admitted at the hospital a day before.

Essebsi was reportedly suffering from serious health crisis as he was admitted in late June, spending a week and re-admitted on Wednesday but later died on Thursday.

Seven days of national mourning have been declared in the country. The speaker of parliament, Mohamed Ennaceur, will take over as interim president.

Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on October 6, and a presidential election on  November 17. However with his death, the elections scheduled could change, according to the country’s electoral commission.

They will be the third set of polls in which Tunisians can vote freely following the 2011 revolution.

Before his death, he had said in a meeting held by his political party called Nidaa Tounes Party that someone younger should be in charge of ruling the country, clearly stating he would not be running for the November 17 election. ” It is time to open the door to the youth, Essesi recently announced.

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