Tuesday 17 October 2017

Tunisia prime minister prepares to step down after he loses no confidence vote

The Tunisian national flag displayed by football supporters
The Tunisian national flag displayed by football supporters

Tunisia's parliament has passed a vote of no confidence in prime minister Habib Essid, effectively disbanding the government of the US-trained agricultural economist.

The no-confidence motion was passed by 118 votes, easily passing the country's 109 vote threshold, after an hours-long debate that stretched late into the night.

Tunisia is the only country to successfully transition to a parliamentary democracy following the uprisings that rocked the Arab world in 2011 but it has struggled with political instability amid jihadi attacks, high inflation, high unemployment and persistent strikes.

Ahead of the vote, Mr Essid said he would do what he could to prepare a smooth transition of power.


Parliament's president Mohamed Ennaceur told MPs Tunisia was "living through a difficult situation that demands sacrifices from all" and added that "we must now look to the future to return hope to all Tunisians".

The difficulties have steadily sapped the authority of Mr Essid, whose position has also been undermined by political manoeuvring within Tunisia's secular Nida Tounis party and pressure from the country's president, Beji Caid Essebsi, who called for a new national unity government last month.

Despite fierce criticism of his government during an extraordinary parliamentary session, Mr Essid said that the debate "consecrated Tunisia's nascent democracy".

"Despite the serious problems our country faces, we have no fear for Tunisia which has the resources to face up to the challenges," he said, before being given a standing ovation by the MPs who ousted him.

Press Association

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