Tunisia: “I am ready to step down if my health fails me” President Essebsi

Tunisian head of state Béji Caïd Essebsi has offered to step down if his health condition does not allow him to run the country as his critics question his physical ability following a recent medical check-up in France.

Essebsi vehemently laid into politicians mainly former transitional president Moncef Marzouki whom he said has indulged in intellectual terrorism and blackmail to attack him and spread false rumors.

Speaking in an interview aired on Arabic media Akher Khabar on Tuesday, the 90-year old President indicated that his recent medical check-up in Paris was normal and at his age, such check-ups are important.

Answering questions on the crisis rocking his party Nidaa Tounes, Essebsi sounded optimistic as he predicted an end of the crisis very soon.

Last month, a group of senior members of the party distanced themselves from the party’s executive director and legal representative, Hafedh Caid Essebsi; the President’s son.

The group called for structural reforms in the party – including sidelining Hafedh whom they viewed as a source of division in the party.

Nidaa Tounes was weakened in January following the walkout of dozens of its members, accusing President Essebsi of imposing his son. The party lost several lawmakers and consequently the majority in the parliament.

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