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Tunisian PM faces vote of no-confidence

Tunisian PM faces vote of no-confidence


Tunisian Minister Habib Essib could be on his way out of government after he faced a vote of no confidence on Saturday.

Essid who took the reins of power just a year and a half ago, recently resisted President’s Beji Caid Essebsi’s proposal to form a new unity government, to push for economic reforms in the north African country.

I didn't come to obtain the 109 votes, I came to expose things to the people and to members of parliament

President Essebsi had appeared on a local television station in June , slamming the government and he proposed the creation of a new government of national unity.

He has maintained that the north African economy needs a more dynamic government that is ready to take bold decisions to realise the liberalisation and cost- cutting required to overhaul the economy.

Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since a suicide bombing by Islamic State (IS) militants killed 12 presidential guards in central Tunis.

In 2015, IS claimed two attacks that killed 59 foreign tourists. The attacks heavily dented the tourism industry which constitutes around 8% of the economy and is a major source of employment.

Economic growth in Tunisia slowed to 0.8 percent in 2015 from 2.3 % in 2014 ,while unemployment stood at 15 % at the end of last year.

On Saturday, Essid told parliament that he was quite aware that the vote would be against him, and added that he was “ready to resign if the country’s interests demanded it”, but would not leave under pressure without a vote of no confidence.

“I didn’t come to obtain the 109 votes, I came to expose things to the people and to members of parliament.”

The 67 year old premier added, “I never opposed the president’s proposal, but it was put forward at a difficult time for the country and has caused the delay in several key projects and laws.”

A majority of law makers are expected to vote in favor of sacking Essid. Ennahda, the largest party in parliament as well as Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes party have already said they will vote against the prime minister.

If he loses the vote, President Essebsi will be required to chose the most suitable person to form a new government.