Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, 93, announced that he will not run for a second term in presidential elections expected this year, despite his party’s calls for him to stand.
Tunisia is being effected by the mass protests that toppled President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algeria and which now have stirred the opposition in Tunisia, and social media campaigns have begun rejecting a second term for Essebsi.
The Tunisian constitution adopted by parliament in 2014 gives him the right to run for two terms.
But at a meeting of his party Nidaa Tounes in Monastir, Essebsi indicated that he does not want to contest a second term. In December 2014, Essebsi won the first free presidential election, becoming Tunisia’s first freely and directly elected president.
Tunisia will hold a parliamentary election on Oct. 6 and a presidential election starting on Nov. 17.
They will be the third set of polls in which Tunisians can vote freely following the 2011 revolution that toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled for 23 years.
No prominent figure has so far declared their candidacy for the presidency this year.