The first democratically elected president, Béji Caïd Essebsi died Thursday, July 25, 2019 at the Military Hospital of Tunis at the age of 92 years. This veteran of Tunisian political life came to power following the “jasmine” revolution. He has been in office under both President Habib Bourguiba’s regime and that of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.
A tireless craftsman of the Tunisian revolution, Béji Caïd Essebsi became supreme president in 2014 with the main mission of consolidating young democracy. Indeed, he came to power in 2014 after two rounds of voting with 55.68% of the votes against his opponent 44.32 Moncef Marzouki, the president of the transition he accused of being supported by the Islamists of Ennahdha.
After his election, the new head of state dedicated this victory to women. Indeed, women played a crucial role in this revolution. They were not in favor of the social policy of the ruling party of then Ennahdha who gave them less power.
Yet Habib Bourguiba, had enacted the Personal Status Code (CSP) in 1956, requiring the consent of the future wife legalizing judicial divorce. When he came to power, President Béji Caïd Essebsi wanted to walk in his steps by revaluing women’s rights over inheritance.
The former president leaves behind a country in mourning. It also leaves a huge building block for the consolidation of democratic achievements.
Finally, according to the constitution, it is the president of parliamentarian Mohammed Ennaceur, 85, a close friend of Essebsi, who will be acting for at least 90 days, until the end of October, before the next ballot.