Elyes Fakhfakh (center) accepts congratulations from lawmakers at the parliament in Tunis on February 27 after his proposed government won a vote of confidence. (Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Tunisian Parliament Ends 4-Month Impasse, Okays New Government

Almost five months after elections, Tunisia finally has a government. In the early hours of Thursday, the country’s parliament, following a 15-hour debate, gave a vote of confidence to a cabinet headed by prime minister-designate Elyes Fakhfakh after having refused to endorse one put forward in early January by Habib Jemli. President Kais Saied had threatened to dissolve parliament unless it gave its nod to Fakhfakh, which it did, in a vote of 129-77, plus one abstention. Tunisia is the only country to have come out of the so-called Arab Spring of 2011 with a working democracy, although in light of the long delay, observers were beginning to wonder if it really was working, with the main culprits being a stubborn economy, featuring high unemployment, and a deeply divided electorate. Fakhfakh says one of his primary objectives will be to overcome an overriding sense of disappointment in the country nine years since the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. “If we have made major progress on the road to democratization,” he told parliament during the debate, “we are still far from a social and economic transition.”

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