A serious political and economic crisis is keeping Tunisia under control: now the country wants to escape it with a new government. It strives for “unconventional and innovative solutions”.
In the midst of a serious political crisis, the Tunisian parliament elected a new government. Former Interior Minister and new Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and his cabinet received the votes of 134 of the 217 MPs on Wednesday morning after a 15-hour session. 67 voted against the government. It consists mainly of civil servants, private managers and academics.
Eighth Prime Minister since 2011
Following Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh’s resignation in July, head of state Kais Saied ordered the non-party Mechichi to form a new government. Mechichi was appointed interior minister in the old government in February. Fakhfakh was the seventh prime minister since the overthrow of ruler Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. Mechichi is now the eighth.
This is the third cabinet in Tunisia since this parliament was elected last year. The Tunisian parliament did not accept the government under Fakhfakh until February. Several attempts to form a government after last October’s elections had failed. The established parties were punished in the parliamentary elections in October 2019. The result is a fragmented parliament.
“Government for work and performance”
Mechichi had a month to form his government. Seven days before Tuesday’s session, he presented his government of technocrats to parliament. This will “basically be a government for work and performance,” Mechichi said in his speech to parliament. You are looking for “unconventional and innovative solutions” and thus save costs.
The two major parties, “Kalb Tounes” (heart of Tunisia) and the Islamic-conservative Ennahda, decided on Tuesday evening to vote for the government. With less than 109 votes, President Saied could have dissolved the assembly and called early 2021 elections.
The North African country is facing major economic problems. According to official figures, about 40 percent of Tunisians suffer from poverty. Youth unemployment is particularly high. Almost every third university graduate cannot find a suitable job. The number of corona infections had also increased recently.