News Brief

Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi has Passed Away

The head-of-state, who was admitted into hospital only yesterday, was 92.

President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia, has passed away according to the BBC. Essebsi was the Northern African country's first democratically elected president after the "Arab Spring" uprisings back in 2014. Essebsi's predecessor, former President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali, had been in office for just over two decades before he was ousted in 2011 at the age of 74.


Essebsi was reportedly admitted into hospital on Wednesday after suffering a "severe health crisis" Tunisian officials report. Late last month, the ailing head-of-state was hospitalized and his son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, expressed to the AFP news agency that his father's condition was quite dire.

Following the "Arab Spring" uprisings in 2014, Essebsi helped draft a constitution that guaranteed freedom of speech and prepared the country for its first free elections. Additionally, he was a part of the proceedings that led to the power-sharing deal between the Nidaa Tounes movement and Islamist Ennahda party which lessened the instability and violence within Tunisia at the time.

According to Youssef Cherif, the deputy director at Columbia Global Centers, the parliamentary speaker, Mohamed Ennaceur, will likely take over over as interim president until Tunisia carries out its elections in November.

Speaking about the constitutionality of the process, Cherif said, "The president has been unwell for almost a month now, so for the last few weeks there was a lot of discussion inside the corridors of the presidency, the parliament, the prime minister's office to find a way without having a constitutional court."

He added that, "Constitutional experts say the parliament speaker will be the interim president for about two months, and then either elections will happen after two months, or elections that were anyway scheduled to take place between October and December will take place."

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Photo by Daniel Beloumou Olomo / AFP

AFCON 2021: Ranking the Best Jerseys at the Tournament

Despite skepticism on the fate of Africa’s biggest football competition, the African Cup of Nations returned with great fanfare on Sunday, January 9. All eyes are on host country Cameroon, who started their campaign to win the tournament for the sixth time by beating Burkina Faso.

Elsewhere, Nigeria’s Super Eagles triumphed over Egypt with a solitary goal from Kelechi Iheanacho. A total of 24 countries are competing in Cameroon, incentivized by a prize money that’s been bumped up $500,000 since the last edition in 2019.

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