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Tunisia: Speaker Sworn in as Interim President after Essebsi’s Demise
By Staff, Agencies
Tunisian Parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur was sworn in as interim president Thursday, hours after President Beji Caid Essebsi’s death, in a smooth transition of power in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
Under Tunisia’s constitution, the president should assume the presidency for 45 to 90 days while a new election is organized.
First, the Constitutional Court is supposed to confirm that the presidency is vacant. However, the court itself doesn’t exist yet, because lawmakers disagree over who its members should be. That could raise questions about the legitimacy of Ennaceur’s leadership.
In a brief speech, Ennaceur called on Tunisians “to strengthen unity and solidarity so that the country can pursue its march toward progress.”
Essebsi, 92, died Thursday at the Tunis military hospital, and a state funeral is planned Saturday. The government declared seven days of mourning, as condolences poured in from several Arab countries.
“On Thursday morning, the President of the Republic died at the military hospital in Tunis. ... The burial ceremony will be announced later,” a presidency statement said.
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