Tunisia’s President Picks New Premier in Bid to Head Off Crisis

Tunisian President Kais Saied picked his former legal adviser as prime minister-designate, attempting to see off a political crisis that threatens to further derail the economy.

Hichem Mechichi, who led the Interior Ministry under the short-lived premiership of Elyes Fakhfakh, will now have to win parliamentary approval for a new administration.

Fakhfakh resigned this month after almost half of lawmakers filed a no-confidence motion in his rule amid a showdown with Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that’s the biggest in the assembly.

Mechichi, 46, is the third person to be chosen for one of Tunisia’s most powerful posts after September elections resulted in a fragmented parliament. Ennahda failed to win lawmaker support for its pick, leading to Saied selecting Fakhfakh, who finally managed to form a government in February.

Read more on the backdrop to Tunisia’s political crisis

The turmoil bodes ill for the North African nation’s economy, which could contract 7% this year and badly needs a united parliament to take tough decisions including in International Monetary Fund talks over a new deal.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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