TUNEZ (AP) — Tunisia had a government at last, after four months of disputes between rival parties in the young North African democracy. After a 15-hour debate, the Tunisian parliament on Thursday morning approved 129 votes in favour, 77 against and abstention from the government formed by Elyes Fakhfakh. An earlier attempt to form a government with another prime minister failed last month.
Islamist party Ennahdha won six ministries, more than any other party, after being the most voted in parliamentary elections in October. However, the training did not win a parliamentary majority and has struggled to reach agreements with other parties on who should lead the government. The president, Kais Saied, threatened to dissolve Parliament and call new elections if the house did not reach an agreement. Unions and business leaders intervened, organizing weeks of indirect diplomacy to try to get rival parties to reach a compromise solution. Six of the new 30 ministers are women, and for the first time one of them, Justice Minister Thouraya Jeribi, will hold one of the most important positions. The government will focus on boosting the digital economy and combating unemployment and violent extremism, the prime minister said. Fakhfakh said he wanted to fight widespread disenchantment in the country, nine years after Tunisian protesters overthrew the country’s autocratic leader, built a new democracy and triggered uprisings across the region in what is knew as the Arab Spring.” While we have made significant progress on the path to democratization, we are still a long way from the social and economic transition,” he told parliamentarians during the debate. The prime minister-designate noted that nearly one million young people, including more than 200,000 with university degrees, are unemployed, causing many to leave the country and emigrate, legally or not, to seek a better life elsewhere.” The 11 million Tunisians must get to work and strive to build the country,” he said.