Tunisian "Nidaa Tounes" party founder and President  Beji Caid Essebsi arrives for a meeting as part of the dialogue between ruling Islamists and the opposition aimed at ending a two-month political crisis on November 2, 2013 in Tunis.  Tunisia's ruling Islamist party Ennahda and the opposition were deadlocked in talks to choose a new prime minister tasked with steering the country out of a months-long political crisis. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID

Tunisian “Nidaa Tounes” party founder and President Beji Caid Essebsi arrives for a meeting as part of the dialogue between ruling Islamists and the opposition aimed at ending a two-month political crisis on November 2, 2013 in Tunis. Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party Ennahda and the opposition were deadlocked in talks to choose a new prime minister tasked with steering the country out of a months-long political crisis. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID

 

92-year old Tunisia President, Essebsi critically sick, hospitalized

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has been taken to hospital after suffering a “severe health crisis”, officials say.

Beji Caid Essebsi was elected president in 2014 in what was adjudged first free election in Tunisia.

They gave no further details. Mr Essebsi, 92, was also treated in hospital last week.

He became president of the North African nation after winning the first free elections in 2014, following Arab uprisings across the region.

Mr Essebsi is currently the world’s oldest sitting president.

Earlier this year, he announced he would not stand in elections expected in November, saying someone younger should take charge.

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said he visited the president in hospital, and urged everyone to stop spreading “fake news” about his condition after some media reports that he had died.

The president was receiving “all the necessary attention he needs”, Mr Chahed wrote in a Facebook post (in Arabic).

Former President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali was ousted in 2011 after 23 years in office.

Since then, Tunisia has won praise as the only democracy to emerge from the revolutions of the so-called Arab spring.

However, in recent years the country has suffered attacks by Islamists and economic problems, with unemployment a persistent issue.

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