BFF-31 Tunisia’s President Essebsi in ‘critical condition’

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Tunisia’s President Essebsi in ‘critical condition’

TUNIS, June 27, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was
in “critical condition” Thursday after being taken to hospital with a serious
illness, a key adviser said.

The 92-year-old leader “was taken seriously ill and transferred to the
military hospital in Tunis,” the presidency said on its Facebook page.

Shortly afterwards key adviser Firas Guefrech said on Twitter that the
president was in “critical condition”.

The announcement came after two suicide attacks in Tunis on security forces
killed a policeman and wounded eight people.

Essebsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, came to
power in 2014, three years after the Arab Spring uprising toppled longtime
dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked revolts in several Arab nations.

Last week, a presidential adviser said that Essebsi had undergone routine
medical tests while another said he had suffered from a slight “discomfort”.

A veteran politician, Essebsi served as an adviser to Habib Bourguiba, the
father of Tunisia’s independence from France, holding a number of key jobs
under him and later under Ben Ali.

Over the years, Essebsi was director general of the national police and
interior minister. He later held the defence portfolio before becoming
ambassador to France.

After a subsequent posting as Tunisia’s envoy to Germany, he was named
foreign minister.

He also served in parliament, holding the speakership in 1990 and 1991.

He became prime minister after the 2011 uprising and organised
parliamentary elections later that year.

Essebsi is the founder and chairman of the secularist Nidaa Tounes (Call of
Tunis) party.

In April he said he did not plan to stand for re-election in polls due to
be held in November this year in order to make way for someone younger.

Presidential elections are scheduled for November 17, after parliamentary
elections which have been set for October 6.

BSS/AFP/ARS/1924 hrs