Monday 20 November 2017

Tunisia PM announces major cabinet reshuffle

Tunisia PM announces major cabinet reshuffle
(AFP 09/07/17)

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday announced a major cabinet reshuffle, replacing the key ministers of interior and defence.

"I've decided on a government reshuffle," Chahed told reporters, announcing the new line-up after talks with President Beji Caid Essebsi.

A former defence minister, Abdelkrim Zbidi, returns to the post in place of academic Farhat Horchani, while Lotfi Brahem, an ex-head of the national guard, replaces Hedi Majdoub at the interior ministry.

Cabinet head Ridha Chalghoum, a former economic advisor to the president, takes over the key position of finance minister.

Speculation has been rife for several weeks over new faces in Chahed's government following his consultations with political parties and organisations such as the powerful labour union UGTT.

Three of 11 new faces in the 27-member government served as ministers under the rule of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in Tunisia's 2011 revolution.

Chahed said his new government would do battle on three fronts: "the war on terrorism, the war on corruption, the war for growth, against unemployment and regional inequality".

"All necessary decisions and measures will be taken to win on all fronts," vowed Chahed, who became Tunisia's youngest premier since independence from France in 1956 when he was tasked last year to form a "national unity" government.

The economy in Tunisia, rocked by political turmoil in the aftermath of the revolution and by deadly jihadist attacks, especially in 2015, has yet to recover and youth unemployment remains high.

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