The confidence vote held in the parliament on Wednesday and Thursday witnessed some heated discussions over PM Habib Essid’s cabinet nominations. Ennahdha MPs explained why they voted for the new government despite a relatively weak representation.
Initially absent from the first proposed government, Ennahdha was then given four positions in the new government: three chief administrators, and one Minister of Employment and Vocational Training, given to Zied Ladhari, former spokesperson of Ennahdha.
Several MPs from Ennahdha – who hold 69 seats in parliament – explained their party’s decision to join the new government. “It would be easier for Ennahdha to be part of the opposition, however, in the interests of the country, the party made the difficult decision to work together,” said Imen Ben Mohamed, deputy for Ennahdha, during the discussion in the parliament.
“Why did Ennahdha join the government?” asked Abdellatif Mekki, another member of parliament for the Ennahdha bloc. “We could be as powerful from inside the government as in the opposition,” he explained.
“We are putting aside our differences for the best interest of Tunisia; we will cooperate and work together,” added Mekki.
Essid was forced to alter his cabinet proposal to incorporate a wider representation of political parties when his first line-up was at risk of no-confidence vote.
“We held continuous negotiations with several political parties and civil society organizations to form this government,” said Essid on Wednesday as he introduced his new line-up to the parliament for the confidence vote.
Although the new cabinet was approved by a comfortable majority of 166 MPs, the new line-up continued to highlight MPs concerns as more details about new cabinet ministers were revealed.
Several MPs accused newly appointed Minister of Tourism Salma Loumi, of normalizing relations with Israel. The Minister of Interior Najem Gharsalli, however, was the most criticized figure of the new government for his alleged corruption and partisanship in the former regime. Slim Shaker was also heavily criticized for being appointed the finance minister despite having been prosecuted in a case involving financial corruption.
Imen is an intern journalist at Tunisia Live newsroom. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Translation from the University of Manouba. Imen speaks Arabic, French, and English.