Tunisia: Preparation for president’s funeral, new elections in progress

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 file photo Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi gestures during a press conference in Tunis. Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the country's first democratically elected leader, has died at 92, his office announced Thursday July 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi, FILE)
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TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia is inviting world leaders to attend the funeral for its president who died in office and preparing a new election to replace him.

The next election was originally set for Nov. 17, but is being rescheduled after President Beji Caid Essebsi died in office Thursday at 92.

Tunisia’s first democratically elected leader, Essebsi won the presidency after Tunisia’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising.

The electoral commission proposed holding the first round of a presidential vote Sept. 15, and is meeting Friday to confirm the date.

A national funeral ceremony for Essebsi is being held Saturday, and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said several foreign leaders are expected to attend, without listing them.

The White House expressed condolences for Essebsi, as did the U.N. and countries around the world.

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