Tunisia’s designated PM makes employment, services the priority


TUNIS – Tunisia’s designated prime minister Elyes Fakhfakh wants a government based on the values of the 2011 revolution that would address unemployment and improve public services, he said on Friday.

“Economic politics will surely change toward a social policy that returns hope for the unemployed youth and for improving public services,” he said at a news conference.

“The result of the presidential election was a strong message in favor of big change,” he said, indicating he would only seek to bring into his government parties “aligned to the values of the revolution”.

However, he said he would keep up with economic reforms that the country has been carrying out for years aimed at tackling big deficits and a growing public debt burden.

President Kais Saied designated Fakhfakh as the next prime minister on Monday, giving him a month to form a government that can win majority backing in the deeply fragmented parliament.

His attempt to form a government follows an unsuccessful bid by Habib Jemli, whose proposed coalition lost a confidence vote on Jan. 10. If Fakhfakh is also unsuccessful there will be another parliamentary election.

The young democracy, which threw off autocratic rule in a 2011 uprising, held two separate elections for parliament and president in September and October.

The votes took place against a backdrop of economic troubles that have undermined public trust in politics with years of high unemployment and declining services as the government attempted to control the debt by reining in spending.

Saied, an independent, won the presidency with a modest campaign that emphasized his belief in the principles of the revolution and that compared his personal integrity to the widespread perception of corruption in the political class.

The failure of Jemli, who was nominated by the biggest party in parliament, to push through his proposed government meant Saied had the right to nominate Fakhfakh, a former finance and tourism minister.



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