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Tunisian premier-designate faces parliamentary rejection of new govt


TUNISIAN Prime Minister-designate Habib Essid’s new cabinet faced rejection by parliament Monday, after another party said it would oppose his choice of ministers in a vote to ratify the country’s new government.

  According to Reuters, a rejection by parliament would be the first defeat for the secular party Nidaa Tounes, since it won October legislative elections. President Beji Caid Essebsi, would then have to appoint a new premier to form a cabinet.

  Tunisia’s politics have been dominated by negotiations and compromise deals between secular and Islamist leaders after the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and brought free elections and a new constitution.

  But the new Nidaa Tounes-led government will need strong backing from parliament as it prepares to crack down on Islamist militants and make sensitive cuts in public spending demanded by international lenders.

  Essid, last week selected ministers from Nidaa Tounes, the leading party in parliament, and other, smaller partners. No positions went to other major parties, including Islamists Ennahda.

  Ennahda, and leftist party Popular Front have already rejected his cabinet, and yesterday, a third party, Afek Tounes, also said it would oppose Essid’s government in a vote to ratify his choices planned for today.

  “We have decided to vote against Essid’s government because it is not a representative government, it’s not a government that includes all the parties that won in the elections,” Afek Tounes leader Rim Majoub, told Reuters.

  Delegates from Afek Tounes, who are nominal allies to Nidaa Tounes, had walked out of the negotiations last week to form the new cabinet.

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