Tunisia's Parliament Approves Fakhfakh’s Government
Tunisia’s parliament gave on Thursday its vote of confidence to the new government despite showering Prime Minister-designate Elyes Fakhfakh with heavy criticism.
The vote came after months of political wrangling that has slowed the country’s efforts to tackle looming economic problems.
The lineup won the vote 129 to 77 after a debate which started on Wednesday and lasted more than 14 hours.
Fakhfakh was severely criticized after introducing his government's program in parliament.
In his inaugural speech, he said that the cabinet would work on bringing back hope that Tunisia can revive. “It is necessary to give hope back to Tunisians," the prime minister said.
Fakhfakh has formed a government of 32 members including 17 independent figures and 6 from Ennahda movement. He assigned the sovereign portfolios to independent figures.
The PM said its priorities would include fighting widespread corruption and reforming public services.
Fakhfakh stressed the need to tackle unemployment and inflation. However, his mission wouldn’t be easy with unemployment hitting 14.9 percent and inflation 5.9 percent.
He said that his government will combat smuggling of products, especially subsidized commodities.
He pledged to provide urgent support to the institutions that constitute the pillar of the Tunisian economy and to back investors and exporters by encouraging and supporting them, in addition to simplifying procedures and red tape.
But Abir Moussi, head of the Free Destourian Party, considered the government the fruit of political corruption.
“We will hold you accountable, we will monitor you and we will oppose you,” she told cabinet members.
MP Safi Said also criticized Fakhfakh, along with several other lawmakers, after the PM insisted on keeping his French citizenship.
“I don’t approve of a premier who was born Tunisian, but insists on remaining a Frenchman,” said Said.
During the session, Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, who heads Ennahda, called for national reconciliation and continuing the path of transitional justice. He also called for accelerating the establishment of the constitutional court that is entitled to enforce the law.