The Prime Minister of Tunisia sets her priorities.. and an American aspiration for more steps

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In the wake of a demonstration that included thousands of people against him in the capital, Tunis, President Kais Saied agreed to the formation of the government chosen by Prime Minister Najla Boudin, to start work immediately without obtaining the approval of Parliament, according to the rules announced by Said recently, while questions arise about whether this The step will contribute to supporting Saeed’s measures or deepening the crisis that the country is suffering from.

The new government, made up of 24 ministers, including nine women, will be answerable to President Kais Saied instead of the prime minister, under the measures taken by the former and his critics describe them as a coup, according to Reuters.

During a ceremony broadcast live on the government’s swearing-in, Said said that it is a government to get Tunisia out of its crisis, without specifying whether he meant the political or economic crisis.

A member of Ennahda’s Shura Council, Jalal El Wargi, told Al-Hurra: “We had hoped that the government would come out of the crisis, but it does not respond at all to constitutional or political conditions, not even efficiency. It is an expression of the crisis and not a title for overcoming the crisis.”

Saeed had taken control of the executive authority, suspended the work of the elected parliament, and did not outline a clear program for a return to the natural constitutional order. He also granted himself the power to appoint a committee to amend the 2014 constitution and put it to a public referendum.

Writer and political analyst, Basil Turjuman, told Al-Hurra that the main task of the Boden government will be to “primarily get Tunisia out of its economic crisis.”

But before dismantling the economic crisis, Turgeman says that a war must be fought against corruption, which has disrupted the economy, destroyed state institutions, caused investors to flee, and disrupted the pace of investment and economic production in Tunisia.

“Corruption has become part of a system established by political parties in Tunisia over the past seven years, and its dismantling requires laws, accountability and a lot of effort,” he added.

After an economic stagnation that lasted for years, foreign donors and influential parties from within, such as the Tunisian Labor Union, fear that Tunisia, which is heavily indebted, will face huge problems in financing the 2021 and 2022 budgets, in addition to paying debt dues without concluding a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which may allow with additional bilateral assistance.

Tunisia has many debts coming due in the coming months.

Last week, Central Bank Governor Marwan Abbasi warned that any request for him to intervene to fill the budget deficit would raise inflation significantly and affect the country’s foreign exchange reserves, and would weaken the value of the Tunisian dinar.

“Tunisia has borrowed nearly $20 billion or more in the past seven years,” says Turgeman. “All of this money was spent and no one knew where it was spent and on what, given that no project was completed, and no job opportunity was found for young people.”

He added, “This money that was looted, it is necessary to know its thief and how to share it under a political system whose basis was corruption and corruption within state institutions.”

On the other hand, Belkacem Hassan, a member of the political bureau of the Islamist Ennahda Party, the largest party in parliament, who became the main opponent of Said, told Al-Hurra that “the economic crisis in Tunisia is severe and requires concerted efforts, achieving stability and initiating rescue operations, and therefore the crisis must be addressed. politics and keenness on the widest participation.

In this context, Bouden, whom Saied appointed last month as prime minister, said: “One of our top priorities is to fight corruption…and restore hope to Tunisians.” But it did not mention any program of economic reforms.

How will the priorities be achieved?

Said’s delay in drawing out a clear program for a return to normal constitutional order has exacerbated Tunisia’s already urgent need for financial support as he has halted talks with the International Monetary Fund on a rescue package, which could hamper the work of the new government.

Western donors have expressed growing dissatisfaction with the president’s steps. Last week, the US State Department said it was urging Saeed to “heed the Tunisian people’s call for a clear roadmap to return to a transparent democratic process.”

The Prime Minister retained a number of temporary ministers whom Saeed had already appointed, including Siham Al-Boughdiri as Minister of Finance and Othman Al-Jarandi as Minister of Foreign Affairs. She also appointed the banker Samir Saeed as Minister of Economy and Planning.

Boden re-appointed Tawfiq Sharaf al-Din as Minister of the Interior. His resignation, which took Saeed’s strongest ally, caused a rift between the president and then-Prime Minister Hisham al-Mashishi.

Hassan says: “It is very difficult for this government to be able to address the economic, financial and social situation, in the absence of a national decision on its constitutionality.”

He added, “This government was supposed to submit a vote of confidence to Parliament and present its program to it, but this was skipped, which does not help provide the appropriate environment for the required reforms and the necessary steps.”

As for Turjuman, he believes that it is too early to talk about how the government will achieve its goals, saying: “It needs time to start work, set priorities and move,” indicating “a state of great popular satisfaction with this government, which includes ministers with high scientific levels.”

He added, “The thing that impressed the street (in choosing ministers) is their lack of involvement in the corrupt party system that ruled Tunisia. These are considered an example of integrity that will contribute to achieving the desired at the economic and social levels.”

On the other hand, Al-Wargi says: “It is a government that escapes from entitlements and challenges. It includes a team of personalities who are not aware or aware of the complexities and challenges facing the country.”

Opposition position

According to reports, it seemed that Saeed’s actions on July 25 received popular acceptance after years of political paralysis, and despite that, opposition to him began to increase over the 11 weeks, which is the time it takes him to announce a new government, according to Reuters.

And last Sunday, thousands of Tunisians opposed to Said’s almost complete control of power staged a protest in the capital, while the police deployed heavily, trying to prevent them from advancing along Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the city center.

Turgeman says: “This opposition has no real value at the political level in Tunisia; it is an opposition looking to recover what it lost because it was benefiting from the state of political corruption it was living in,” noting that the previous parliament was an example of that, he said.

“The opposition, despite all the mobilization it is doing at home and abroad, has not been able to change public opinion in Tunisia,” he added.

Hassan responds, saying, “Continuing the peaceful protests does not mean disrupting government treatments as much as it means enabling the government to have the appropriate environment to ensure success, and we do not believe that unilateralism and violating the constitution will help provide this climate.”

He pointed out that the partisan political and civil society forces are keen to get out of the complex crisis that the country is experiencing politically, economically and socially, and see the need to return to the constitution and start from within the constitutional tent to do all the required national remedies.

Regarding Ennahda’s position on this government, he said: “Ennahda affirmed its adherence to returning to the constitution and initiating a comprehensive national dialogue to raise all issues with the widest possible participation, and it is with the peaceful protests that reject the coup and the imposition of the fait accompli.”





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