Tunisian Lawmakers Give Nod to New Government
Parliamentarians in Tunisia have avoided new elections by giving a vote of confidence to a governing coalition presented by prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi. The vote late on Tuesday was 134 in favor and 67 in opposition to what is mostly a technocratic government, the third since elections were held in October. Tunisia is the only country to have emerged from the so-called 2011 Arab Spring as a democracy, although the country’s many economic and social ills, coupled with a deeply divided electorate and surfeit of parties, have resulted in severe political instability. Mechichi, who was interior minister when tapped by President Kais Saied to form a government at the end of July, follows Elyes Fakhfakh, who resigned on July 15 over allegations of corruption. In a move seen aimed at streamlining efforts to overcome an already bad economy made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, Mechichi unified the country’s Finance, Investment and Economy ministries into a single ministry headed by a senior banker. Saied has been calling for widespread political reforms to help stabilize national governance.