Tunisia appoints cabinet

25 January 2015

Prime Minister Essid says new government is “for all Tunisians”

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid has announced the composition of his new government.

“The new government will be one for all Tunisians,” said Essid, during the press conference. “Its ultimate objective is to realise the goals of the revolution of liberty and dignity, consecrate the democratic process and guarantee socioeconomic development for all.”

Tunisian political parties have not yet given official responses to the new government, as the announcement was made on 23 January, just before the weekend started.

Essid underlined that he had met with political and civil society groups and had taken their views into account. He also emphasised the non-partisan, technocrat character of the government, and its inclusion of women.

The key positions in the new government are:

Finance Minister – Lassaad Zarrouk

Interior Minister – Najem Gharsalli

Foreign Minister – Taieb Baccouche

Defence Minister – Farhat Horchani

Development, Investment and International Cooperation Minister – Nejib Derouiche

Industry, Energy and Mines Minister – Zakaria Ahmed

Transport Minister – Mahmoud ben Romdhane

Essid named seven members of Nidaa Tounes, the ruling party, in his government, including the foreign and transport ministers, along with three ministers from their allies – the Free Patriotic Union (FPU). Only three minor ministerial portfolios were given to women.

The choice of Gharsalli, a former judge, as Interior Minister is the most controversial appointment. He was accused by Mohamed Abbou, secretary-general of the Democratic Current, of participating in the persecution of his fellow judges under the regime of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Finance Minister Zarrouk has a background in the Finance Ministry and managing social security programmes.

Development Minister and FPU member Derouiche has more than 15 years of private sector experience in the US and the Middle East, most recently as a consultant in Dubai.

A vote of confidence will be held in the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP). Nidaa Tounes holds 86 of 217 seats in the ARP, while the FPU holds 16, so obtaining support from other parties will be crucial.

Follow Philippa Wilkinson on Twitter: @Philippa_MEED

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