Tunisians, world leaders bury president who died in office


People react as the convoy carrying the body of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi arrives at the presidential palace in Carthage, near Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, July 26, 2019. Tunisia is inviting world leaders to attend the funeral for its president who died in office and preparing a new election to replace him. The next election was originally set for Nov. 17, but is being rescheduled after President Beji Caid Essebsi died in office Thursday at 92. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

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TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisians and visiting dignitaries are bidding adieu to the country’s first democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, who died in office at 92.

Arab leaders and French President Emmanuel Macron are among those attending Saturday’s funeral ceremony in Tunis. Military officers carried his coffin, draped in a red Tunisian flag.

Essebsi won Tunisia’s first free election after the 2011 uprising that brought the North African country democracy and unleashed uprisings around the Arab world.

Upon this death, the parliament chief has taken over as interim president pending a new election on Sept. 15.

Tunisia remains plagued by economic troubles and sporadic terrorist attacks but is the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring with a functioning democracy and is relatively open and stable compared to other countries in the region.

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