Tunisian President rules out second term, says will ‘open door to youth’

Tunis: Tunisia’s 92-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Saturday (local time) that he was not keen on standing for re-election in the presidential polls slated to be held later this year, underlining that it was time to “open the door to the youth”.

“In all honesty, I don’t think I will put myself forward. It is time to open the door to the youth,” Essebsi told the Nidaa Tounes party, which he founded in 2012, Voice of America reported.

Essebsi’s remarks came after there were calls from within his party to run for a second term in the upcoming presidential elections.

Essebsi is Tunisia’s first democratically elected President, who won the polls in 2014.

The 92-year-old leader urged his party to end the bitter feud with Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, who split from the government and formed his own party, Tahia Tounes.

Presidential polls are set to be held on November 17. However, none of the main political parties have announced their candidates so far.

Tunisia was one of the countries affected by the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region in 2011. The revolt in the North African nation toppled longtime leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in office.

Although Tunisia has been hailed as a model of democratization in the Arab world after it emerged from the mass protests, the country has, in recent years, suffered terror attacks and faced economic woes.