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Tunisian Parliament Approves Government Reshuffle

Tunisian Parliament Approves Government Reshuffle

Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 08:45
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed during his speech at the parliament (AFP)
Tunis - Mongi Saidani
The Tunisian parliament approved on Monday a cabinet reshuffle introducing 10 new ministers, while portfolios such as the finance, foreign affairs and interior ministries remained unchanged.

Speaking at the confidence vote session, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed told the 217-member parliament that the government has three priorities, including improving the economy, addressing the social crisis, and electing a new head for the electoral commission.

The parliamentary session was attended by 163 deputies, and dedicated to the confidence vote on the proposed reshuffle. However, the session was boycotted by deputies of Nidaa Tounes, who demanded the PM step down over his government’s failure to revive the economy.

Islamist Ennahdha party, which has 68 parliamentary seats, expressed its full support to the reshuffle.

“For the past two years we have been working under random shelling from friendly fire,” Chahed said in his speech, adding that he has not found political support in the reforms and in the fight against corruption.

“This is no longer possible as we want clarity to move forward in reviving the economy and ending the political crisis.”

Chahed pleaded for a much needed political stability to overcome difficulties, notably economic and social problems, ahead of the 2019 legislative and presidential elections.

The PM asserted that the Constitution does not require him to consult the President on the reshuffle unless it includes the ministries of defense and foreign affairs. He denied media reports accusing him of wanting to offend President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Chahed fired at claims describing the reshuffle as a "coup," describing them as "irresponsible.”

As expected, several opposition parties objected certain names nominated for ministerial portfolios during the heated parliament session.

The vote of confidence is not expected to solve the dispute with several political parties, namely Nidaa Tounes, led by Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the son of the current president.

Hafedh Essebsi accused Chahed of failing to tackle high inflation, unemployment and other problems.

Head of Nidaa Tounes’ parliamentary bloc Sofian Toubel told reporters that the boycott came after Truth and Dignity Commission continued to operate even though the parliament had voted to terminate its activities.

“This reshuffle is a coup against the winning party in the 2014 elections... Chahed did not consult with Nidaa Tounes about this reshuffle,” Toubel said.

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