Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, country's first democratically elected leader, dies at 92

Image: TUNISIA-POLITICS-ESSEBSI-OBIT
Picture taken on October 30, 2018, shows Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during a visit at the presidential Bellevue Palace in Berlin. Copyright BERND VON JUTRCZENKA
By Associated Press with NBC News World News
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Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the North African country's first democratically elected leader, has died.

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TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the North African country's first democratically elected leader, has died.

He was 92.

An official in the president's office told The Associated Press that Essebsi died Thursday morning at the Tunis military hospital, where he was taken the night before.

That was the third time in recent weeks that he had been hospitalized.

Under Tunisia's constitution, the president of the parliament will assume the presidency for 45 to 90 days while elections are organized.

Essebsi won office in 2014 in the wake of the country's Arab Spring uprising.

He recently announced he wouldn't run in the election scheduled for November, saying a younger person should lead the country.

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