Essid announces Tunisia cabinet names

03 February 2015

Prime Minister Habib Essid makes second attempt at forming a government for Tunisia

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid has released a list of nominations for ministers in his second attempt to form a cabinet.

Nominations for major ministries including Interior, Foreign and Defence remain unchanged.

The new list includes members of Islamists Ennahdha and Afek Tounes in minor positions, alongside politicians from ruling party Nidaa Tounes and their allies the Free Patriotic Union (UPL).

The key positions are:

  • Defence Minister: Farhat Horchani
  • Interior Minister: Nejem Gharsalli
  • Foreign Minister: Taieb Baccouche
  • Commerce Minister: Ridha Lahouel
  • Transport Minister: Mahmoud Ben Romdhane
  • Finance Minister: Slim Chaker
  • Industry, Energy & Mines Minister: Zakaria Hamed
  • Tourism Minister: Salma Rekik
  • Development, Investment & International Cooperation Minister: Yassine Brahim

The most important change is the replacement of technocrat Lassaad Zarrouk by Nidaa Tounes member Slim Chaker as finance minister. Chaker has experience in banking and public investment, and was Youth & Sports Minister following the 2011 Revolution.

The first list announced was dropped after heavy criticism and refusals to support Essid’s choices from Ennahdha and leftist Popular Front, the second- and fourth-largest parties in Tunisia’s Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP).

The cabinet will have to pass a vote of confidence in the 217-member ARP before 5 February. The support of Ennahdha and Afek Tounes will be important, but secularists have criticised the decision to include Ennahdha in the new government. Many Tunisians blame them for economic mismanagement during the transition.

Essid’s deadline to form a government can be renewed until 5 March. If he fails to meet it, another prime minister will be appointed.

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