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New Tunisian Government Includes Ennahda Islamist Party

3 February 2015 14:18

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Tunisian Prime Minister-designate Habib Essid on Monday announced a new coalition government including secular party Nida Tounes, its main rival, the Ennahda, and smaller political parties.

The new lineup is a compromise after a cabinet proposed by Essid last week looked likely to be rejected in parliament. Lawmakers will vote this week to ratify the new government.

The deal reached on Sunday came after Tunisian Prime Minister-designate Habib Essid’s new cabinet faced a threat of rejection in parliament last week from key parties opposed to his choice of ministers.

Essid selected ministers from secular Nidaa Tounes, the leading party in parliament, and other smaller partners, while shunning Ennahda.

Representatives from the leftist Popular Front have rejected Essid’s new cabinet partly because it contained former officials from Ben Ali’s regime, some of whom they said were suspected of corruption in the past.

Essid’s proposal will have to push through tough economic reforms demanded by opposition and continue a campaign against militants operating in the country.

Lawmakers will vote this week on whether to ratify the new government.

In the 217-seat parliament, Nidaa Tounes holds 86 seats and has some backing from the liberal, secular UPL party, which has 16 seats. But without the support of Ennahda, the party is left short of the 109 majority they need to ratify the cabinet.

Ennahda holds the second largest number of seats in parliament.

Four years after its uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has witnessed democratic transition with a new constitution and free elections.

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