Tunisian Prime Minister-designate Habib Essid on Monday (February 2nd) announced the formation of a coalition government.
The new cabinet is dominated by Nidaa Tounes but includes its rival Ennahda, as well as smaller parties. The announcement came after modifications were made to its initial formation after the main parliamentary blocs threatened to withhold approval.
“We’ve introduced changes to the formation to ensure more efficacy and effectiveness, and to mobilise potentials to start working immediately and deal with many urgent files and existing challenges,” Essid said in a speech after he formed his government.
Taieb Baccouche, secretary-general of election winner Nidaa Tounes, was appointed foreign minister. Baccouche represents the leftist part of Nidaa Tounes, which also includes officials who had worked with former President Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali.
Ennahda was given the employment ministry and three secretary of state positions – finance, investment and health, in spite of opposition by many Nidaa Tounes supporters.
The interior and justice ministries were assigned to independents, as per the demand of Ennahda to neutralise sovereign ministries.
The government also includes ministers from two liberal parties – Afek Tounes and the Free Patriotic Union (UPL).
The new government is expected to be confirmed on Wednesday and includes 8 women -three ministers and five secretaries of state.
“The Popular Front is not taking part in Essid’s government and won’t give it its confidence,” said Ahmed Seddik, head of the leftist party. “The front bloc will be in the opposition.”
In his turn, Imed Daimi, a legislator representing the Congress for the Republic (CPR), said: “Essid’s government is fragile, lacks harmony and won’t be able to introduce the radical changes that Tunisians are waiting for.”
“The CPR and the Democratic Movement Party won’t give Essid’s government the confidence and will consider themselves as part of the opposition,” he confirmed.