CARTHAGE, Tunisia (Reuters) – Tunisia bid farewell to its first democratically elected president Beji Caid Essebsi on Saturday at a state funeral attended by overseas leaders, together with French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Individuals collect in the course of the funeral of the Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis, Tunisia July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Essebsi, who helped information the North African nation’s transition to democracy after the 2011 revolution, died aged 92 on Thursday.
Different dignitaries attending his funeral within the capital Tunis included Algerian President Abdelkader Ben Saleh, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and King Felipe VI of Spain, together with 1000’s of Tunisians.
The late president’s coffin, coated with the purple and white Tunisian flag, was positioned on a navy truck within the palace of Carthage, about 10 kilometres from the capital.
Many roads have been closed and safety forces deployed in most areas of Tunis and close to the Al Jallaz cemetery.
Tunisians lined up the streets resulting in the Carthage district, waving flags and chanting the nationwide anthem.
Hundreds stuffed the capital’s Habib Bourguiba Avenue, a focus of the 2011 revolution that sparked uprisings throughout the Arab world, often known as the Arab Spring.
“It’s a unhappy day for Tunisia,” stated a lady named Nabila. “We misplaced a fantastic statesman who had a giant position after 2011 revolution and helped unite Tunisians and ease historic variations with the Islamists.”
Hours after Essebsi’s dying, parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur was sworn in as interim president consistent with the structure in a easy transition of energy. The electoral fee introduced a presidential election for Sept. 15, two months sooner than scheduled.
A parliamentary vote is about for Oct. 6.
Essebsi rose to prominence after the overthrow of veteran autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, which was adopted by Arab Spring revolts towards authoritarian leaders throughout the Center East and North Africa, together with in Libya and Egypt.
Drafted in as premier after Ben Ali’s fall, Essebsi in 2012 based the secular Nidaa Tounes occasion, now a part of the governing coalition, to counter-balance the resurgence of Islamists who had been suppressed beneath Ben Ali. Two years later, Essebsi grew to become Tunisia’s first freely elected head of state.
Reporting By Tarek Amara; Modifying by Janet Lawrence and Clelia Oziel