TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the North African country's first democratically elected leader and a symbol of the generation of Tunisians who shook off French rule in the 1950s, died Thursday. He was 92.

In a hasty ceremony hours after Essebsi died at a military hospital in Tunis, the leader of parliament took over as interim president. However, Essebsi's death while still in office could lead to new power struggles in the only country to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings with a functioning democracy and relative stability.

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