Tunisia parliament approves new government amid PM-president strains


The Prime Minister of Tunisia – Youssef Chahed’s new government has won a vote of confidence in parliament at a time of tensions between the premier and the president in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

Lawmakers voted on Monday to have the lineup approved, which President Beji Caid Essebsi has complained he was only informed of “at the last minute”.

The reshuffle sees the entrance of 13 new faces, though the key portfolios of interior, foreign affairs and defence remain unchanged.

Chahed has served as premier since 2016. He told parliament that his government would work to boost growth, investment and job creation as well as to limit the public deficit to 3.9 percent in the 2019 budget.

The government has worked in the face of anarchic political offensives for the past two years. Strains between Chahed and Essebsi have fuelled speculation that the prime minister plans to run in next year’s presidential poll.

Chahed is the longest serving of the country’s premiers since the 2011 revolution that ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and triggered the Arab Spring regional uprisings.

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