Tunisian parliament gives vote of confidence to coalition government

On Thursday, the new Tunisian government won a vote of confidence in Parliament, after more than four months of political strife since the elections.

Former Finance Minister Elyes Fakhfakh was appointed Prime Minister-designate by Tunisian President Kais Saied in late January and tasked with forming a government within a month.

A previous cabinet team proposed by him was rejected by the Islamist-inspired party Ennahdha, which won the most seats in the legislative elections in October, but which is far from having obtained the majority at 217 seats.

But Fakhfakh’s revised lineup won the 129 to 77 vote after a debate that began on Wednesday and lasted more than 14 hours.

Ennahdha had supported the new cabinet after receiving six portfolios.

Fakhfakh said last week that despite the difficulties, the negotiations had taken place “in a completely democratic manner”.

The vote of confidence follows a power struggle between the president and Ennahdha, the party previously threatening to take action to force Fakhfakh.

The government will be sworn in at a ceremony to be held Thursday evening at the Presidential Palace, the president’s press office told AFP.

Fakhfakh will become the eighth Tunisian Prime Minister since the 2011 revolution overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia, managed for more than four months by the outgoing government, is trying to revive a struggling economy but unemployment continues to affect the population, especially the young, and inflation is eroding an already low purchasing power.

The new government will be responsible for reviving discussions with the International Monetary Fund, which in 2016 approved a loan of $ 3 billion over four years for Tunisia in exchange for major reforms, some of which are disputed.

Due to delays, the country has so far received only about $ 1.6 billion, while the facility ends in April and the first repayments are due in November.