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Proposal of Tunisia ‘Government of Competencies’ Turned down by Key Parties

Proposal of Tunisia ‘Government of Competencies’ Turned down by Key Parties

Friday, 14 August, 2020 - 07:30
People walk past municipal elections posters in Tunis. (Reuters)

Tunisia's Prime Minister-designate Hichem Mechichi continued on Thursday his political consultations to form a new government, but failed to reach any progress with blocs representing key parties in the parliament. These parties, which emerged victorious in the last parliamentary elections, are insisting on the formation of a political government that takes into account the results of the 2019 polls.

Parliament Speaker and head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, Rached Ghannouchi is a main supporter of the proposal. However, smaller parties back the formation of an independent government of competencies, which observers say will allow them to participate in the government coalition.

Other parties, such as the Heart of Tunisia, People's Movement and Democratic Current, will be harmed by such a government seeing as they were elected to rule and implement their electoral programs. They therefore, view a government of competencies as a “clear coup” against the electoral results and one that is loyal to President Kais Saied.

The Free Destourian Party and National Reform, each boasting 16 MPs, National Bloc, with 11 MPs, and Tahya Tounes, with 14 MPs, endorse an independent government. On the other side of the divide, are the Ennahda (54 MPs), Democratic Current (38 MPs), Heart of Tunisia (27 MPs) and Dignity Coalition (19 MPs), who reject a government of competencies. They represent the majority at parliament and can reject Mechichi’s government lineup when it is presented to a vote at the legislature.

As part of his consultations on Thursday, the PM-designate met with heads of organizations and associations, as well as President of the Supreme Judicial Council Youssef Bouzakher, Chairman of the Bar of Association Ibrahim Bouderbala, President of the Association of Tunisian Judges Anas Hamadi, and General Secretary of the Union of Tunisian Judges Amira al-Amri.

Bouderbala said the political class must reach consensus over the nation’s common interest. He said the “delicate” situation demands that everyone agree on a number of common goals to “save Tunisia.”

Former PM and head of Tahya Tounes, Youssef Chahed urged parties to parties to accept the formation of a government that excludes them. He predicted that they will reach an agreement over a cabinet lineup proposed by Mechichi.

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