Tunisia: Mechichi government wins vote of confidence

Program based on relaunching economy, fighting poverty

02 September, 15:08

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 2 - At the end of a very long session in Tunisia's Parliament, 134 lawmakers against 67 voted confidence in the government of Premier Hichem Mechichi last night. Mechichi presented a government of technicians and was able to convince various political forces that his cabinet favored the superior interest of the nation over party interest.

    The government team includes 25 ministers and three secretaries of State (including eight women) ''whose job will be periodically monitored to evaluate the government's performance and to guarantee that objectives are obtained'', the premier told Parliament, illustrating the five priorities of his government's action: stopping the hemorrhage of public finances; rationalizing debt and public expenditure; restoring the confidence of investors and supporting investments; reforming the public sector and protecting disadvantaged classes. For the first time, a blind university researcher Walid Zidi, became a member of the government as culture minister.

    Mechichi, 46, a jurist and former interior minister and a close aid of president Saied, vowed that he will work in a constructive manner with all political parties and national organizations given his belief that all forces must unite at the service of the country. The premier expressed the conviction that only technicians and independent personalities can guarantee a minimum of stability to the country given the impossibility of ''finding a formula that can gather all political parties in the same government''. However, he stressed that he will work to implement effective mechanisms of coordination with parties and parliamentary groups so they can communicate their proposals to the government and that he will personally ensure ''this positive interaction and bilateral coordination through regular meetings''.

    Those who voted in favor of the new government included the Islamic Ennhadha, Qalb Tounes, the group of national reform, Tahya Tounes and others. Opponents included the Islamist coalition al Karama, Echaab and Ettayar (Democratic group) and others. The Pdl of Abir Moussi announced a ''constructive'' opposition. Despite a discreet margin of yes votes obtained by the cabinet (the minimum required was 109 out of 217) with a fragmented parliament after the last elections, with no force obtaining more than 25% of the vote, it will however need to work to find ample consensus to pass scheduled reforms. For this reason, the premier stressed he would accept criticism and advice from all those who will bring added value to the government and serve the country's best interest.

    The premier said he was aware of the poor economic situation (with employment at 18% and a GDP drop of 12%), also due to the coronavirus emergency which has nearly cancelled tourism revenues, a key sector for the country, and the continuing crisis in neighboring Libya. Mechichi's program focuses on increasing revenues while cutting public spending and attracting investments. ''It will be a government of action, success, efficiency and change that will seek innovative solutions to national issues, taking into account the country's means'', said the premier. Mechichi is the ninth premier since the 2011 revolution.(ANSAmed). (ANSA).

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