Tunisia’s Minister of Relations with Constitutional Bodies, Civil Society and Human Rights Organisations announced on Sunday that he has resigned from office. Mehdi Ben Gharbia’s surprise move was accepted by the Head of the Government, Youssef Chahed.
In a resignation statement broadcast by Tunis Afrique Presse, Ben Gharbia criticised the opposition in the country. “Instead of holding a discussion about the reforms to be taken to get Tunisia out of its current situation,” he noted, “opposition voices call for a change in the government, as if the country’s problems and their solutions are linked to changing Youssef Chahed.”
The former minister defended the current government, stressing that it was honest with the Tunisians about the reality of their country’s situation. “The government has launched a number of reforms that include penal justice, the pension system, public institutions, the public finance deficit and debt, and achieved economic growth.” These are the reforms that he believes in and for which he worked in the government. “There are no alternatives to the reform option.”
Yet another change of government, insisted Ben Gharbia, would be the seventh since the 2011 revolution and useless for Tunisia. He said that he will continue to defend reforms and the country’s necessary political and governmental stability.
The National Unity Government in Tunisia, led by Yousef Chahed, took office in August 2016 with the participation of a number of parties, on top of which remain Nedaa Tunis and Ennahda Movement, which hold the majority of seats in the Assembly of Representatives of the People, the Tunisian parliament.
However, there have been increasing calls by a number of opposition parties, including a wing of Nedaa Tunis led by Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the son of President Beji Caid Essebsi, as well as the Tunisian General Labour Union. They are demanding the resignation of Chahed because of the economic problems that the country has been facing.