Tunisian Islamists reject new government ahead of vote

Tunisia’s nominated Prime Minister Habib Essid (L) presents his cabinet to Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi on January 23, 2015 in Carthage Palace in Tunis. (AFP)

Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahda, which holds the second largest number of seats in parliament, said on Sunday it would reject a government proposed last week by Prime Minister designate Habib Essid, complicating his cabinet’s ratification.

Parliament will vote this week to confirm the new government that must tackle economic reforms and Islamist militants to consolidate Tunisia’s young democracy after its 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

“We decided not to approve this government because it does not represent all the political classes and it breaks with the consensual way we have worked recently,” Ennahda leader Sahbi Atig told Reuters after a party meeting.

Essid has proposed a cabinet formed from the main secular Nidaa Tounes party and smaller partners, but no posts went to the two other main blocks in the parliament, Ennahda and the leftist Popular Front.

One of the most secular countries in the Arab world, Tunisia has been praised for its peaceful democratic transition in an otherwise volatile region, with free elections and a new constitution four years after Ben Ali's overthrow.

Since that uprising, Tunisian politics has often been dominated by compromises between secular and Islamist leaders to help keep democratization on track after a series of deadlocks threatened to overturn its transition.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46