Tunisia’s new Prime Minister, Elyes Fakhfakh, and members of his cabinet yesterday sworn in before country’s president Qais Saeed a parliamentary confidence vote that broke four months of political wrangling.
“The most prominent challenges facing the new government today are the country’s economic and social conditions,” Saeed said in a speech, calling on everyone “to fight the battle with sincere national will.”
He also demanded “tackling corruption spread across all sectors.”
On Thursday, Fakhfakh’s government won the confidence at the parliament, with 129 votes in favour, 77 against, and one parliamentarian abstaining out of total 217 seats.
Fakhfakh will become the eighth Prime Minister in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Tunisia, which has been managed for more than four months by the outgoing government, has been trying to revive a struggling economy but unemployment continues to affect the population, especially the young, and inflation is eroding an already low purchasing power.
The new government will face a major economic challenge after years of low growth, persistent unemployment, big government deficits, mounting debt, high inflation and deteriorating public services.
It must tackle high public spending and politically sensitive reforms to energy subsidies and state firms.
It will also need to secure new external financing worth $3 billion after an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme ends in April, with no new support yet agreed.