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Tunisia Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Protests Can’t Overthrow Fakhfakh Govt.

Tunisia Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Protests Can’t Overthrow Fakhfakh Govt.

Wednesday, 27 May, 2020 - 09:15
Tunisia's Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh speaks during a handover ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia February 28, 2020. (Reuters)

Protests, arson and some violent acts that have been recently reported in some Tunisian cities cannot overthrow the current coalition government, led by Elyes Fakhfakh, said Minister of Trade Mohamed Msilini.

He said the current government was the “last chance” to improve the investment climate and partnership with European, Arab and the Maghreb states and save the country from the economic and social difficulties that have accumulated for more than 10 years.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Msilini dismissed the impact of the large anti-government campaigns launched by some opposition parties and social media websites named “Youth of the Revolution.”

They had called for the organization of the so-called “departure sit-in 2” near the parliament and government buildings, similar to the 2013 rallies, to protest against the mounting unemployment and poverty, accumulation of economic and social hardships, especially in light of the coronavirus outbreak, and the political elite’s preoccupation with trivial disputes for nine years.

Msilini is a member of parliament’s Democratic bloc, which is the second largest after the moderate Islamist Ennahda movement.

He ruled out the possibility that the political parties, which are driving the anti- government and parliament campaigns, would succeed in overthrowing them through demonstrations and sit-ins.

On the fact that the protests coincided with the call by some opposition parties for a government change, Msilini acknowledged the “abnormal” competition taking place between the government and parliamentary majorities.

Msilini said the government majority relies on Ennahda, the Democratic bloc and independents, while the parliamentary majority relies on Ennahda, Nabil Karoui's Qalb Tounes (Heart of Tunisia) and the al-Karama coalition, whose opponents accuse of including hardline and Salafist members.

The minister further acknowledged the differences among MPs on some local and external issues, including the Libyan conflict.

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