Tunisia Parliament Rejects Prime Minister Jemli’s Government

(Bloomberg) -- Tunisia’s parliament rejected the government put together by Prime Minister Habib Jemli, a move that could delay efforts to implement reforms in the North African nation.

Jemli won the votes of 72 of the 217 deputies in parliament in the vote of confidence, according to the Watania 1 television station. The move gives President Kais Saied a key role in appointing a new candidate to form the government. According to the constitution, if Jemli’s government fails to get the necessary backing, Saied will assign another figure he chooses to form the government.

Jemli was picked as prime minister in November by Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that won the most seats in the previous month’s legislative elections. None of the parties won a majority in the election and Jemli has struggled to form a coalition government because larger groups such as the populist Heart of Tunisia have refused to join forces.

The lack of a clear winner in the legislative elections late last year reflected the challenges confronting Tunisia. The country’s 2011 uprising against President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali triggered the Arab Spring revolts that swept the region, toppling leaders in Libya and Egypt and sparking wars in Syria and Yemen.

The president, himself a political outsider, was elected as voters rejected the country’s political establishment. A constitutional law expert, Saied vowed to usher in a new era of change for the country. But the results of the parliamentary vote and the subsequent bickering in talks about forming a government has stunted efforts to enact change in the country.

Tunisia, which secured a $2.9 billion International Monetary Fund loan in 2016, is under pressure to cut spending while trying to appease an increasingly frustrated population clamoring for jobs and opportunities.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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