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Tunisia’s PM-designate Promises Hope, Change

Tunisia’s newly appointed prime minister has vowed to form a government focused on reforming the stagnant economy and restoring hope among increasingly disenfranchised youth. Habib Jemli was tasked last week with creating a ruling coalition by the Islamist Ennahdha party, which won a plurality of seats in October’s parliamentary election. Tunisia is the only country to achieve a peaceful transition to democracy following the 2011 “Arab Spring” revolutions that overthrew autocrats throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Nevertheless, successive Tunisian governments have since struggled to adequately address economic problems, including high unemployment and inflation, in addition to deteriorating civil services – a reality that prompted the electorate to reject establishment candidates in the recent vote. Jemli, who is close to Ennahdha leaders, will begin meeting with politicians on Monday to discuss the formation of a government – which will need the support of at least two other parties to achieve a parliamentary majority of 109 seats – a process that, if successful, is expected to take weeks. If Jemli cannot form a coalition within two months, the president can offer another candidate the opportunity to do so or can call for an election do-over.