Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s leader for over two decades has died on Thursday aged 83, in Saudi Arabia, his family says.
The man who led the country for 24 years, was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.
His downfall ignited similar uprisings against other authoritarian leaders across the Arab region, which led to the removal of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Moamer Kadhafi of Libya in the same year.
A career soldier, Ben Ali took power on November 7, 1987, when he toppled Habib Bourguiba, the ailing father of Tunisian independence who was by then reported to be senile.
“I needed to re-establish the rule of law,” Ben Ali told a French television channel in 1988. “The president was ill and his inner circle was harmful.”
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