Tunisia President Essebsi in critical condition

Tunisia President Beji Caid Essebsi. FILE PHOTO
Tunisia President Beji Caid Essebsi. FILE PHOTO

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was in “critical condition” Thursday after being taken to hospital with a serious illness, a key adviser said.

The 92-year-old leader “was taken seriously ill and transferred to the military hospital in Tunis,” the presidency said on its Facebook page.

Shortly afterwards key adviser Firas Guefrech said on Twitter that the president was in “critical condition”.

The announcement came after two suicide attacks in Tunis on security forces killed a policeman and wounded eight people.

Essebsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, came to power in 2014, three years after the Arab Spring uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked revolts in several Arab nations.

Last week, a presidential adviser said that Essebsi had undergone routine medical tests while another said he had suffered from a slight “discomfort”.

Essebsi is the founder and chairman of the secularist Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunis) party.

In April, he said he did not plan to stand for re-election in polls due to be held in November this year in order to make way for someone younger.

Presidential elections are scheduled for November 17, after parliamentary elections which have been set for October 6.