Live Updates: Tunisia Struggles to Form New Government

By Bernard Yaros | Feb 11 2013 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

Tags: Ennahdha ,Fethi Ayadi ,Jebali ,Remaniement ,Shura council

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced last Wednesday, February 6, that he intends to create a government composed of apolitical technocrats, arguing that such a move is in the best interest of the country.

Jebali’s own party, Ennahdha, rejected his proposal the following day and said that the prime minister had not consulted with them on the decision. Jebali, nevertheless, reaffirmed his intention on Friday, February 8, to form such a technocratic government and said it would be announced in a few days.

It remains to be seen how high-level discussions over a forthcoming cabinet reshuffle will play out.


3:36 p.m. Ennahdha founder Rachid Ghannouchi announced that Prime Minister Jebali will speak about the “failure” of his initiative in the coming hours, reports Mosaique FM radio.

6:26 p.m. Othman Hadj Amor, a leader of the Popular Front, called Jebali’s initiative “late and incomplete” in an interview with Mosaique FM radio.

3:21 p.m. Employers’ union UTICA announces its support for a technocratic government called for by the prime minister.

3:02 p.m. Prime Minister Jebali met today with the 16 members of the ‘council of wise men’ to discuss the upcoming formation of a new government.

Prime Minister Jebali met Tuesday with the ‘council of wise men’ (Courtesy of PM Hamadi Jebali’s Facebook page)

2:28 p.m. Zied Lakhdar, a member of the political bureau of Watad, reiterated on RTCI radio that even though the prime minister’s proposal is “too late,” the party still welcomes the idea.

12:42 p.m. Mohamed Jmour, spokesperson for the Democratic Patriotic party (Watad), told Express FM radio that the party supports Jebali’s initiative under the condition that the Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution are dissolved.

12:37 p.m. Tarek Kahlaoui, member of CPR’s political bureau, tells Express FM radio that on top of its conditions outlined in yesterday’s press conference the party is giving Ennahdha one week’s time to also change the ministers of justice and foreign affairs. This is a decisive period, and we need political decisions, which technocrats cannot provide, argued Kahlaoui.

12:34 p.m. Ettakatol party supports trade union UGTT’s call for a national dialogue over the formation of a new government and stresses that parties ought to think first of the national interest.

11:37 a.m. Mustapha Ben Jaafar from Ettakatol party expressed his party’s support for the prime minister’s intention to form an apolitical, technocratic government at this morning’s press conference.

11:09 a.m. Ettakatol party is to officially announce its position on Jebali’s initiative today in a press conference.

Ennahdha founder Rachid Ghannouchi

10:36 a.m. (Tuesday, February 12) Ennahdha founder Rachid Ghannouchi says in an interview with Al-Mutawasit TV channel that he trusts Prime Minister Jebali, whom he called “a leader,” and understands the efforts he is making to resolve the current “ordeal” that the country is facing.

10:20 p.m. Member of the Democratic Alliance party in the opposition, Mahmoud Baroudi, calls on the opposition to rally behind Jebali’s proposal in a radio interview with Mosaique FM and says that tomorrow National Constituent Assembly members, independents, and political opposition members will meet to establish a unified position on the prime minister’s initiative.

8:25 p.m. Tunisia’s largest trade union, the UGTT, declared its support for the prime minister’s call for a technocratic government, UGTT spokesperson Sami Taheri tells Mosaique FM radio. The Order of Lawyers and the Tunisian League of Human Rights also stand with Jebali’s initiative as long as it leads to the realization of the aims of the revolution, says Taheri.

6:42 p.m. Opposition party Wafa Movement does not support Prime Minister Jebali’s initiative and argues that the cabinet should remain political in nature.

6:26 p.m. Ayman Zouaghi from the opposition party, Al Aridha, says to Tunisia Live that his party supports Jebali’s initiative for a technocratic government; however, it maintains that Jebali should resign and not be a part of it.

5:35 p.m. A member of opposition party, Nidaa Tounes, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells Tunisia Live that Jebali’s proposal is “a step in the right direction.”

5:30 p.m. Ahmed Gaaloul, member of Ennahdha’s Shura Council, maintains that the ruling party still stands by its earlier refusal to accept the prime minister’s call for a technocratic government.

President of Al-Majd party Abdelwahab Hani

5:10 p.m. Centrist party Al Majd supports Jebali’s intention to form a technocratic government, says the party’s president Abdelwahab Hani to Mosaique FM. Hani argues that not only should the ministers be technocrats but also their advisers. The nominated technocrats to positions of decision-making should not run in the next elections, added Hani.

4:30 p.m. Prime Minister Jebali met today with William Taylor, special coordinator for Middle East transitions from the U.S. State Department. Part of the discussion centered on the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.

 3:40 p.m. Foreign Affairs Minister Rafik Abdessalem says in an interview with Mosaique FM radio that Jebali’s initiative is currently being studied. Irrespective of the nature of the next government, it is necessary to find a consensus among all the parties, said Abdessalem.

3:30 p.m. According to Mosaique FM, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has not received the reactions of other parties to his proposition of a technocratic government.

1:10 p.m. Members of the former ruling RCD party of Ben Ali would come back in a technocrat-led government, said Abbou in CPR’s press conference. Technocrats can have positions in the government, he stated, but not ones that involve decision-making.

12:11 p.m. Abbou maintains that he holds much respect for Jebali but cannot support his decision for a technocratic government.

Mohamed Abbou (far right) speaks to reporters Monday morning along with other members of the CPR party

12:08 p.m. Abbou continues that Prime Minister Jebali has the prerogative to fire ministers, but to replace them Jebali must go through the Constituent Assembly.

12:04 p.m. Abbou says that CPR is against a government of technocrats, arguing that it is not efficient.

11:59 a.m. At a press conference, Secretary General of the CPR party Mohamed Abbou announces that it is freezing for a week its decision to leave the ruling Troà¯ka coalition following discussions with Ennahdha representatives last night.

11:08 a.m. (Monday, February 11) Fethi Ayadi, president of Ennahdha party’s Shura Council, said on Express FM radio that Ennahdha still does not back Prime Minister Jebali's proposition for a technocratic government and is looking for a government of consensus. Ennahdha met with representatives of the Congress for the Republic (CPR) party yesterday, said Ayadi, and will meet today with Ettakatol and Wafa Movement parties to discuss such a government of consensus.

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    There must be shared power. Everyone must have a voice and the people of Tunisia have the final decision on who and how their country is administered. Clear heads should prevail as international attention is focused on the validity of Tunisia’s future.

  1. - democracy: government and opposition

    While often the essential criterion of democracy and of a government is seen in its majority decision, the viability of the democratic system depends much more decisively on the rights of political minorities being guaranteed.
    Thus not only a change of the (elected ruling) oligarchies is always possible, but the currently disadvantaged non-governing political group with its legitimate demands is well enough represented within the political system.

    A government will certainly absorb the attractive ideas of the opposition and often include them into their political program to the chagrin of the opposition.

    An important task of the governing party is not to push the opposition into hopeless apathy, but to concede an appropriate, respected position to its opposition instead.
    The viability of democracy depends not least on the ability of the political system to install and incorporate a responsible alternative leadership within this system.