Tunisian President Appoints Mechichi PM-Designate
Tunisian President Kais Saied on Saturday appointed Hichem Mechichi as the new prime minister, to succeed Elyes Fakhfakh, who resigned over allegations of a conflict of interest. Mechichi, 46, a political independent and currently the interior minister, will have a month to form a new government that can win a vote of confidence in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, Tunisia’s parliament. If he fails, parliament will be dissolved and the country will go to new elections. Mechichi has served as an adviser to the president and is a member of the National Commission of Investigation on Corruption. The country faces a severe economic crisis, with citizens frustrated by a decline in living standards and public services amid the coronavirus pandemic. The economy is expected to shrink by a whopping 6.5% this year and the deficit may reach 7% of gross domestic product. In parliamentary elections held in October, the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which received less than 20% of the votes, was the largest party, making a stable government unlikely.