Beji Caid Essebsi

Position: President of Tunisia

Biography: Beji Caid Essebsi was elected president of Tunisia on 21 December 2014. At 88, he is a veteran of Tunisian politics, having served under President Habib Bourguiba following independence from France. A lawyer by profession, Essebsi held the posts of defence minister, ambassador to the US and France, foreign minister and head of the chamber of deputies between 1969 and 1991.

After the 2011 revolution, he was appointed interim prime minister to guide Tunisia through its first democratic parliamentary election. Following the success of the Islamist Ennahda party in that vote, he formed the secular opposition group Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunis).

Nidaa Tounes won 86 out of 217 seats in the 2014 legislative elections and Essebsi has now consolidated the party’s powerful position by winning the presidential run-off. Essebsi faces multiple challenges, chief among them reviving the economy, cutting unemployment and tackling domestic and foreign terrorism.