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Tunisian Interior Minister named PM amid hopes of ending political crisis

Hichem Mechichi, seen here in February 2020, said he would "work to form a government that meets the expectations of all Tunisians".
Hichem Mechichi, seen here in February 2020, said he would "work to form a government that meets the expectations of all Tunisians". AFP/File
2 min

Tunisian Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi has been appointed Prime Minister and asked to form government in an effort to resolve the country’s political crisis.

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A former legal adviser to the President, Mechichi replaces Elyes Fakhfakh, who resigned after a no-confidence motion in his leadership brought on by allegations of corruption.

The 46-year-old, an independent chosen by President Kais Saied, now has a month to form a government capable of winning a parliamentary confidence vote by a simple majority.

Failing that, the President will have to dissolve parliament and call another election.

Commentators say Mechichi, a lawyer who worked as chief of staff at the transport ministry, lacks the economic credentials necessary to make the difficult reforms needed to lift Tunisia out of economic stagnation.

Before the coronavirus hit, unemployment was already at 15 percent and now Tunisia – which has asked for delays to its international debt repayments – forecasts its economy will further shrink by 6.5 percent this year.

Although Tunisia managed a peaceful transition to democracy following the 2011 uprising that set off the Arab Spring, successive governments have failed to stabilise the economy and improve living conditions.

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