Tunisia parliament approves new unity government
The parliamentary vote of confidence for the unity government brings to an end some three months of intense negotiations
Tunisia’s parliament resoundingly approved the unity government of Youssef Chahed, backing a new cabinet line-up which will have to tackle the country’s pressing socio-economic and security challenges.
There were 167 votes in favor, 22 against and five abstentions. The cabinet, headed by Chahed -- who at 40 will become the country’s youngest prime minister since it won independence from France in 1956 -- is set to take office in the coming days.
The parliamentary vote of confidence for the unity government brings to an end some three months of intense negotiations.
President Beji Caid Essebsi said in June that he would support a government of national unity, faced with rising criticism of the government of Habib Essid.
Chahed was appointed prime minister-designate by Essebsi early this month after lawmakers passed a vote of no confidence in then-premier Habib Essid’s government following just 18 months in office.
Chahed, a member of Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes party, will become the North African nation’s seventh head of government in less than six years.
His 27-strong cabinet draws its members from all parties, including the Islamist Ennahda party, and includes eight women “in important” positions and “14 young” ministers.
While Tunisia is considered a rare success story of the Arab Spring, the authorities have failed to resolve the issues of poverty, unemployment, regional disparities and corruption that preceded the 2011 fall of then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Chahed’s new government will also have to address security after a wave of extremist attacks, including two that killed dozens of foreign tourists last year.
The vote on the new cabinet comes after Tunisia in January witnessed its worst social unrest since the 2011 uprising.