Tunisia set to hold confidence vote on new government on February 26

Tunisia's prime minister designate Elyess Fakhfakh speaks during a news conference in Tunis. (Reuters)

Tunisia is set to hold a confidence vote on a new government on February 26, after more than four months of political wrangling since elections, a parliament statement said Thursday.

The parliament announced a date for the vote on Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh’s government after the premier unveiled a revised cabinet lineup late on Wednesday.

An earlier version of the list had been rejected by the Islamist-inspired party Ennahdha, which won the most seats in October’s legislative election but fell far short of a majority in the 217-seat assembly.

The party won seven portfolios in the new lineup and has given the green light to the cabinet, paving the way for a favorable vote in the assembly.

“If we refer to the statements of the different parties, there is an intention to give the vote of confidence,” political scientist Selim Kharrat told AFP.

Tunisia’s divided parliament already dismissed a list proposed under the leadership of Ennahdha after months of negotiations following the elections.

Deputies voted 134 to 72 against Ennahdha-designated Habib Jemli’s proposed government of independent figures due to “frictions” between the parties over political appointments.

Former finance minister Fakhfakh was named prime minister-designate by Tunisia’s president Kais Saied on January 20 and tasked with forming a government within a month.

On Wednesday, the prime minister said that “the period of consultations, despite its difficulties and its complexity, took place in a completely democratic manner.”

The announcement of the new lineup and the setting of a date for the confidence vote follows a power struggle between the president and Ennahdha, with the Islamist-inspired party threatening over the weekend to take steps to force out Fakhfakh.

Saied, a constitutional law expert, hammered home on Monday that the only alternative to giving a vote of confidence to Fakhfakh’s government was a dissolution of the parliament and fresh elections.

While Ennahdha supported Saied in the second round of the presidential election last October, negotiations over the following months revealed deep rifts between the key political actors, according to Abdellatif Hannachi, a contemporary history professor.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:01 - GMT 07:01
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