Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tunisian Prime Minister appoints new ministers in cabinet reshuffle | Tunisia news

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Hichem Mechichi appoints a dozen new cabinet members, including ministers of the interior, justice, energy and health.

Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has appointed 12 new ministers as part of a cabinet reshuffle announced amid mounting political tensions and a major economic crisis.

Mechichi on Saturday appointed Walid Dhabi as the new Interior Minister to replace Taoufik Charfeddine, considered close to President Kais Saied and sacked earlier this month.

The move underscores the tensions between the country’s two most powerful rulers, as Saied and Mechichi disagree over their respective powers and political alliances, jeopardizing the stability needed to advance much-needed reforms.

Hedi Khairi has been appointed Minister of Health following criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tunisia has so far recorded more than 175,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 5,528 related deaths, while the official date for the start of vaccinations in the country is still unknown.

The disputes have also shaken the ranks of coalition partners supporting the government, with the Karama party refusing to vote on the reshuffle and threatening to quit the coalition.

“The next step is full of challenges”

Mechichi appointed Youssef Zouaghi as Minister of Justice, Sofien Ben Touns as Minister of Energy and Oussama Kheriji as Minister of Agriculture.

“The next step is full of challenges, including the reforms needed for the economy, which require increased efficiency and harmony,” said Mechichi, who previously sacked the environment and culture ministers.

Chiheb Ben Ahmed was appointed Minister of the Environment and Youssef bin Ibrahim was appointed Minister of Culture.

Although Tunisia became a democracy after its uprising in 2011, its economy has deteriorated, the country is on the verge of bankruptcy and political leaders appear to be paralyzed.

The 2019 election delivered a bitterly fragmented parliament unable to produce a stable government, with parties bickering for cabinet seats and postponing major decisions.


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