The ongoing negotiations over a forthcoming cabinet reshuffle were marked by another high-profile resignation Tuesday. Minister of Defense Abdelkarim Zbidi decided to leave his post, citing a continuous lack of vision on the part of the coalition government.
“Tunisia is not on the right path,” asserted Zbidi Tuesday in an interview with Tunisian television channel Nessma TV.
Zbidi was first appointed Minister of Defense on January 27, 2011 in the aftermath of the Tunisian uprising, which led to the ouster of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. He kept his position throughout the transitional government of Beji Caid Essebsi and the interim one of Hamadi Jebali.
Zbidi said that Essebsi, who led the first transitional period, had a clear objective – the organization of successful elections – while instability in this second transitional period has undermined any attempts to address the country’s urgent needs, such as rampant unemployment and insufficient economic development.
In the interview, he urged the government to move faster in forming an independent commission to organize Tunisia’s upcoming elections and passing laws to grant and protect the independence of media and of the judiciary.
Zbidi added that he had constantly sought to convey his recommendations to the president of the republic, the prime minister, and the speaker of the National Constituent Assembly to no avail.
“But now we reached a point of complete indecisiveness,” he said.
Zbidi’s points of contentions with the current political leadership echoed the conditions put over two weeks ago by outgoing Prime Minister Jebali when he stated publicly that he would not join a government that does not have a clear road map and does not set a date for Tunisia’s next elections.