Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi gestures during a press conference in Tunis, Oct. 25, 2018.
FILE - Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi gestures during a press conference in Tunis, Oct. 25, 2018.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has died at the age of 92.

The office of the presidency said the veteran politician passed away Thursday after being taken to Tunis military hospital where he was taken the night before.

He was hospitalized late last month to be treated for a severe illness.

Essebsi was Tunisia's first democratically elected president and the heir to the country's founding father, Habib Bourguiba, who built up the country and educated its people.

Essebsi came to power in 2014, three years after Arab Spring uprising that ousted longtime authoritarian Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and triggered revolts in several Arab countries.

The country's constitution mandates the speaker of the parliament will temporarily serve as president.

Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on October 6 followed by a presidential election on November 17.

Essebsi, who's powers were limited compared to Ali's, was primarily responsible for foreign and defense policies.

Tunisia has been touted as an Arab Spring success story, as it replaced an authoritarian regime with a democratic government replete with a new constitution and free elections in 2011 and 2014.

 

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