News ID: 256359
Published: 1256 GMT July 26, 2019

Iran extends condolences to Tunisia over president’s death

Iran extends condolences to Tunisia over president’s death

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed their condolences to Tunisia’s government and people on the passing away of their President Beji Caid Essebsi.

President Rouhani, in his message to the interim Tunisian president, Mohamed Ennaceur, on Friday asked for divine mercy for the late president and greatness for the great nation of Tunisia, according to IRNA.

On Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister sent a message to his Tunisian counterpart Khamis al-Jahnawi, saying that he was saddened by the news of death of Essebsi, “who was elected president in a free election by the great Tunisian nation.”

“I offer my condolences to his family and to the friend and brother nation and government of the Republic of Tunisia, pray God to have mercy on the deceased’s soul, and emphasize that the Islamic Republic of Iran stands and sympathizes with the Republic of Tunisia’s government and nation,” the top Iranian diplomat added.

The Tunisian government has declared seven days of mourning following the death of Essebsi, the country's first democratically elected president.

In a ceremony hours after the death of the 92-year-old leader on Thursday, Mohamed Ennaceur, the head of parliament, was sworn in as interim president.

Ennaceur, 85, will lead the country until presidential election is held on September 15, according to the Independent Electoral Commission. The presidential vote was originally scheduled for November 17.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed declared a seven-day mourning period and ordered flags at state institutions to be lowered to half-mast.

One of the world's oldest leaders, Essebsi died on Thursday morning at the Tunis military hospital, where he was taken the night before. It was the third time in recent weeks that he had been hospitalized.

His funeral has been planned for today.

Drafted in as prime minister in 2011 after the toppling of longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali during the uprising, Essebsi was elected president three years later, becoming the country's first directly elected head of state.

As prime minister, he helped draft a new democratic Constitution guaranteeing fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and preparing Tunisia for free elections.

He also co-brokered an historic power-sharing deal between his Nidaa Tounes movement and Islamist party Ennahda that helped to steady the country.




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