Saturday 23 September 2017
(AFP (eng) 09/22/17)
Tunisia, where sodomy is punishable by jail, has banned forced anal examinations to determine sexual orientation, the North African state's minister for human rights said Friday. The authorities carry out the tests on suspected homosexuals but "these exams can no longer be imposed by force, physical or moral, or without the consent of the person concerned", Mehdi Ben Gharbia told AFP. Foreign and local rights groups have condemned the practice of forced anal exams as "cruel" and "inhuman". Ben Gharbia said judges can still request that a suspect undergo the test "but that person has every right to refuse, without his refusal being held up as proof of homosexuality". Tunisia is "committed to protecting the...
(AFP (eng) 09/19/17)
Tunisia's electoral commission on Monday indefinitely postponed the first municipal elections since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in a blow to the fledgling democracy. The commission announced the postponement after a meeting between party heads and representatives of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, President Beji Caid. "The majority of participants in the meeting were in favour of postponing the municipal elections," said interim commission head Anouar Ben Hassen. The parties would meet again within 10 days in another bid to set a date, he said.
(Xinhuanet 09/19/17)
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi received Libya's self-proclaimed National Army chief, General Khalifa Haftar, here on Monday to discuss settlement of the Libyan conflict. Libya's U.N.-backed Government of National Accord operates in the country's west and is headquartered in Tripoli, struggling for more extensive influence across Libya. The rival government, backed by Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, is based in the city of Tobruk. The Libya's National Army controls most of the country's east and south and desires for international...
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar visited neighbouring Tunisia on Monday for talks with President Beji Caid Essebsi, who offered to act as a mediator between rival Libyan factions. Libya, which plunged into chaos after the ouster and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups battling to control its oil wealth. "The stability of Libya is a necessary condition for the stability of Tunisia," Essebsi said, calling on Libyans to "overcome their differences" and "to work to build a state". In a statement, he said Tunisia did not want to "interfere in Libya's internal affairs" but rather to "facilitate dialogue between the different
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
The head of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party on Sunday said the country's first post-revolution municipal polls due in December would be postponed, probably until March next year. Rached Ghannouchi told private Shems FM radio: "We were not favourable to a postponement of the municipal elections but there are objective reasons for a delay." He said that the electoral commission was expected to announce a new date on Monday and the polls would "probably" be held in March 2018. There was...
(AFP (eng) 09/18/17)
More than 1,000 people protested Saturday in Tunis against a controversial amnesty law adopted by parliament for officials accused of corruption under toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The law passed on Wednesday evening after a rowdy parliamentary debate following a cabinet reshuffle that saw Ben Ali-era officials join the cabinet as ministers of finance and education. The reshuffle was seen as strengthening President Beji Caid Essebsi's grip on power, months ahead of Tunisia's first post-revolution municipal polls. "We...
(AFP (eng) 09/15/17)
Opposition groups on Thursday raised the alarm over Tunisia's transition to democracy after parliament passed an amnesty law for officials accused of corruption under toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The law passed Wednesday evening after a rowdy debate in parliament, coming in the wake of a cabinet reshuffle that saw Ben Ali-era officials join the cabinet as ministers of finance and education. The reshuffle was seen as strengthening President Beji Caid Essebsi's grip on power months ahead of...
(AFP (eng) 09/13/17)
Tunisia's presidency on Tuesday expressed its regret over the expulsion of Morocco's Prince Moulay Hicham, first cousin of King Mohammed VI, but did not explain why he had been deported. The prince was expelled from Tunisia Friday after arriving to attend an academic conference organised by Stanford University on the political transition in Tunisia after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. "The president of the republic is exasperated by what happened to researcher (Prince Moulay) Hicham Al-Aloui and his expulsion from Tunisian territory," presidency spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook. Garrach said the prince was deported "according to automatic administrative procedures without being referred to officials...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/13/17)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s parliament on Wednesday began debating a contested bill granting amnesty to officials accused of corruption during the rule of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, triggering angry protests from the opposition and activists outside. Opposition lawmakers sang the national anthem and shouted slogans before the session was temporarily suspended. Outside, dozens of demonstrators protested, chanting “This law will not pass” and “Whitewash corruption”. After months of protests, the bill was amended from an original draft which would...
(AFP (eng) 09/12/17)
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi strengthened his grip on power late Monday when parliament approved a cabinet reshuffle ahead of key elections. Observers say the new cabinet, which places Essebsi allies in key positions, consolidates the 90-year-old president's hold on the executive, months ahead of Tunisia's first post-revolution municipal polls. "It is the president who pulls the strings," French language daily Le Quotidien said. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed easily won a confidence vote for his new line-up, backed by lawmakers...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/12/17)
Tunisia’s parliament gave Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s new government a vote of confidence on Monday after the premier detailed plans to halve the budget deficit and trim the public wage bill in the next three years as part of a reform package. Chahed last week named a new cabinet after weeks of wrangling between the ruling Nidaa Tounes party and rival Islamist party Ennahda over posts that had delayed progress on a reform program backed by the International Monetary Fund...
(Xinhuanet 09/12/17)
The Tunisian Assembly of People's Representatives (ARP), or parliament, approved on Monday night a major cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. The reshuffle involves 13 portfolios and seven secretaries of state. Former Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi, 67, returns to the post, while 55-year-old Lotfi Brahim, the former commander-in-chief of the Tunisian National Guard, will take the helm of the Interior Ministry. Taoufik Rajhi was named as minister of the Head of Government, a new ministerial position in charge...
(AFP (eng) 09/11/17)
Morocco's Prince Moulay Hicham, King Mohammed VI's first cousin, said on Saturday he had been expelled from Tunisia on the day he arrived to attend an academic conference. "Policemen came to my hotel shortly after my arrival yesterday (Friday) and I was taken to the airport," the prince told AFP. Moulay Hicham, who lives in the United States, had travelled to Tunisia for a conference organised by Stanford University on the political transition in Tunisia after the 2011 Arab Spring...
(Xinhuanet 09/09/17)
Barely 100 days after his nomination as Tunisian prime minister, Youssef Chahed has carried out a major cabinet reshuffle which involves 13 portfolios and seven secretaries of state. Pending its presentation on Monday to the Assembly of People's Representatives for the vote of confidence, the new Tunisian government of Chahed seems to be determined to continue the anti-corruption battle launched several weeks ago, which was crowned by the arrest of a dozen businessmen and executives, as well as a famous...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/07/17)
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s two main parties on Thursday gave parliamentary backing to Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s new cabinet, handing him the initiative to push sensitive economic reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund. Chahed’s cabinet needs strong support to reform public sector wages and overhaul the pension system to improve national finances. Infighting and social protests have kept past governments from pushing through tougher austerity reforms. Chahed on Wednesday named 13 new ministers including heads of the interior, defense and finance ministries. He appointed Taoufik Rajhi, one of his advisors from the Islamist Ennahda party...
(Middle East Monitor 09/07/17)
Tunisia President Beji Caid Essebsi has called for an investigation into the nature of the opposition Ennahda party. In an interview with Tunisia’s official local newspaper Al-Sahafa, Essebsi described the Islamist movement as “not civic”. “The outlawed group paralyses the state from carrying out its duties and achieving development,” Essebsi stressed. The party’s media office is yet to respond to Essebsi’s remarks. Ennahda is the predominant party in the Tunisian government with 69 seats in the parliament, the Assembly of...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/06/17)
Tunisia’s prime minister named a new cabinet on Wednesday, appointing one of his advisors from the Islamist Ennahda party to a new economic reforms ministry in a deal that ends weeks of infighting over posts. The compromise cabinet should give Prime Minister Youssef Chahed the impetus to push ahead with tough reforms of public sector wages the pension system designed to improve Tunisia finances in line with IMF demands. Chahed, in power for just over a year, restored Ridha Chalgoum,...
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said Tuesday that the cabinet reshuffle remains imperative as three posts are vacant. While announcing a national strategy to boost employment, Chahed said an official announcement will be released after a new list of cabinet members is completed. Tunisian interim Minister of Finance Fadhel Abdelkafi, who was also acting minister of development, investment and international cooperation, resigned on Aug. 18 as he faced a court case next month over alleged illegal financial transactions. Moreover, the...
(Xinhuanet 08/23/17)
China is dedicated to enhancing its cooperation with Africa in human resource development through knowledge and technology transfer, a Chinese diplomat said Tuesday. Liu Tao, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, made the remarks at the Chinese Government Training Program Fellowship Reception in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. He said China, since the year 2000, has sent over 2,000 agricultural experts and over 7,000 medical personnel to Africa, and has trained more than 80,000 Africans from more than 50...
(AFP (eng) 08/17/17)
Muslim clerics in Tunisia on Thursday voiced opposition to President Beji Caid Essebsi's plan to introduce legislation granting equal inheritance rights to women, contrary to Islamic precepts. Essebsi has announced the formation of a commission to examine "individual liberties" and "equality in all domains", including inheritance rights. As laid down in the Koran, the Muslim holy book, daughters in the Islamic world inherit half the shares of sons. Touching another raw nerve in Tunisian political and religious debate, the secular...

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