Tunisia approves Essid government

05 February 2015

Assemby votes 166 to 30 in favour with eight abstentions

Tunisia’s Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) comfortably passed a vote of confidence to new Prime Minister Habib Essid’s government, on 5 February.

After two days of debate, the ARP voted 166 votes for, eight abstentions and 30 against, according to independent monitor AlBawsala.

The government includes members of Nidaa Tounes, which holds the largest block of seats in the ARP, its main rivals Ennahdha and smaller parties the Free Patriotic Union and Afek Tounes. Essid was forced to renegotiate his proposed government as an earlier, more narrow list was heavily criticised.

Current Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa is expected to hand over power on 6 February.

In his opening speech, Essid promised structural reforms and a new investment law, and improvements to the health and education systems.

He also committed to passing a new terrorism law in the next 100 days.

Each new minister will have 10 days to prepare a plan for the first hundred days of government, after which a report will be presented before the ARP.

They will also prepare a five-year plan (2016-21) to promote inclusive development and reduce unemployment.

The country is facing unemployment of more than 15 per cent, concentrated among young people and the interior regions, and annual GDP growth rates of only 2.3 per cent in 2014, according to Tunisia’s National Institute of Statistics.

The new government is under acute pressure to stimulate economic growth and reduce inflation, which reached 5.5 per cent in 2014. However, with public debt reaching 52.9 per cent of GDP in 2015, Tunisia will struggle to finance the necessary investment.

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