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Essebsi, Beji Caid

Essebsi, Beji Caid bä´zhē cä´ĭd əsĕb´sē [key], 1926–2019, Tunisian political leader. A lawyer and ally of President Bourguiba, he held several posts in his and President and Ben Ali's government, including interior minister (1965–69), defense minister (1969–70), foreign minister (1981–86), and president of the chamber of deputies (1990–91). He also was ambassador to France (1970–71) and to West Germany (1987). Following the ouster of President Ben Ali in the country's Arab Spring uprising (2011), Essebsi came out of retirement to serve as interim prime minister (Feb.–Dec., 2011), helping to guide Tunisia toward democratic government. In 2012 he founded (2012) the secular Nidaa Tounes [Call of Tunisia] party, and in 2014 he was elected president of Tunisia after a runoff vote in the country's first free presidential election. He died in office.

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