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Tunisia’s parliament votes to give confidence to a proposed government facing widespread criticism

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Tunisian parliament continues Friday, a critical session, to vote to either give confidence to the government proposed by Prime Minister-designate Habib El-Gamli or reject it after widespread criticism that included many of the names proposed as the economic and social situation in the country worsened.

Al-Nahda, the first party in parliament (52 seats out of a total of 217), nominated Habib Al-Gamli in mid-November and presented it as an independent figure to form a government that he launched without party participation on January 2, consisting of 28 ministers and 14 state clerks.

In his speech, Al-Gamali presented his representatives to his work team and his program. He said, “Our selection of the government team was honest and according to an objective methodology. We will not hesitate to reform if it turns out that there is a mistake in choosing a member.”

He reiterated that “the government team is made up of independent and open competencies for all parties and civil society organizations,” but the formation, in turn, faced intense criticism from political parties.

Speaker Rashid al-Ghannushi earlier opened the session, saying it was a “long-awaited” session.

The Renaissance Shura Council on Thursday night-Friday reaffirmed its support for the Al-Gamali government and called on all parliamentary blocs to vote for it.

The Shura Council Speaker Abdel Karim Al-Harouni told reporters that “the Renaissance bloc will intensify its consultations with other blocs, and we are optimistic, and failure to form a government is not allowed,” considering that “there are divisions within the parties” that announced their refusal to vote.

On the other hand, the “Heart of Tunisia” party, the second largest parliamentary bloc (38 deputies) decided on Thursday that it would not vote for the nominated government “because of the lack of independence of most of the proposed ministers, contrary to what the designated prime minister announced and the non-neutrality of sovereign ministries.”

The head of the Democratic Current (22 deputies) announced on Wednesday that his parliamentary bloc “will not vote for Ennahda”.

“Dates … don’t pass.”

The Friday newspaper, “Al-Shorouk”, titled its editorial, entitled “Today is a test of obtaining the confidence of parliament, the government of al-Jamali is passing … it does not pass.”

The Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights, in turn, considered the candidacy of Judge Imad Darwish at the head of the Ministry of Defense the most provocative nomination.

The association affirmed in a statement that the dervish was “one of the arms” of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali before the 2011 revolution and had “used it” to constrict the association “and prevent its managing body from being active.”

The former spokesperson for the Anti-Terrorism Judicial Department and Judge Sufyan al-Saliti were nominated as Minister of the Interior, to which Judge al-Hadi al-Qadeiri, appointed as Minister of Justice, was added.

Al-Gamali renewed his speech after he set out in extensive consultations with the parties since the middle of November, which led to their exclusion due to political tensions.

Also criticized was Habib El-Gamly, 60, because he was a former Secretary of State to the Minister of Agriculture (2011-2014) and participated in two previous governments led by the “Renaissance” party as an independent technocrat.

The positions of the parties that reject the government, although it seems categorical, but consultations are still taking place in Parliament before the voting date.

In addition, observers believe that the ministries of sovereignty were granted to figures close to the “Ennahda” party, the majority of whom are judges, and that his decision to change some names in order to gain confidence indicates a “lack of seriousness.”

The proposed Al-Gamali government is required to pass a majority of no less than 109 votes in the divided and dispersed parliament, which was produced by the parliamentary elections last October.

According to Chapter 89 of the Tunisian Constitution, and when the deadline has been exceeded without the formation of the government, or in the event that the People’s Assembly does not have the confidence, the President of the Republic will, within ten days, hold consultations with the parties, coalitions, and parliamentary blocs to assign the most capable person to form a government within a maximum period of a month .

Since the 2011 revolution that toppled the regime of the late former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has managed to achieve successes in its democratic transition from the political side, but this success clashes with the economic reality of the least described as difficult.

Economic indicators do not rest

His camel program in parliament focused on the economic and social side, incendiary files awaiting a government with a strong parliamentary bond that can respond to the living demands of Tunisians.

In this regard, Al-Gamali said his main approach is “to combat poverty, privatization and the high cost of living … and to control financial balances and advance the pace of growth.”

He will also take “bold measures to boost investment, restore investor confidence and advance the industrial sector.”

However, the economic indicators do not reassure the Tunisians, as the unemployment rate remains at the level of 15.1 percent, inflation is 6.3 percent, the growth rate is around 1.4 percent, while the budget deficit is 3.5 percent of GDP.

The debt ratio stabilizes at the level of 74% and amounted to 7% in the year 2018 of the total output volume, according to the International Monetary Fund, which granted in 2016 a loan of $ 2.9 billion to Tunisia, of which $ 1.6 billion was disbursed over four years in exchange for extensive economic reforms, provided that To be repaid from 2020.

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