Tunisian president dies from illness

World Today

In Tunisia, the first democratically-elected President Beji Caid Essebsi died Thursday after suffering an undisclosed illness.

CGTN’s Adnen Chaouachi reports.

Following the death of President Essebsi, the Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives Mohamed Ennaceur has taken over as Acting President of the Republic.

“We’ve agreed upon applying article 84 of the constitution because of the permanent vacancy of the position of President of the Republic. The constitution stipulates that acting president is sworn in, to rule temporarily for a minimum period of 45 days and a maximum of 90 days,” said Ghazi Chaouachi, a member of Parliament.

In the meantime, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Abdelfattah Mourou and Vice President of Ennahda Islamic Movement will run Parliament.

“Tunisia has a legal and constitutional arsenal as well as stable state institutions. All stakeholders will respect the democratic transition process. Therefore, we are confident that all legal procedures will be respected during the ongoing transition of power,” Mourou said.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called on the Tunisian people to maintain national unity in service of Tunisia’s supreme interest and respect the provisions of the Constitution and cohesion around the constitutional authorities.

The country’s Premier decided on 7 days of national mourning with flags at half-mast in the public buildings. He also decided to cancel all the artistic and cultural events in the country.

Essebsi died on the 62nd Republic Day which marks the anniversary of the Independence of Tunisia.

Tunisians say Essesbi will be remembered as a man who safeguarded democracy and defended the democratic transition following the 2011 popular uprising.