Tunisian President Appoints Prime Minister Amid Protests Over Energy Seize

TUNIS — Tunisia’s president appointed a brand new prime minister on Wednesday amid rising criticism of a sequence of steps he has taken over the previous two months to pay attention energy in his palms.

The president, Kais Saied, named Najla Bouden Romdhan, a director-general on the Ministry of Increased Training who runs a World Financial institution-financed program designed to help the modernization of the nation’s increased schooling system. She is the primary lady to carry the workplace. The appointment got here greater than two months after he suspended Parliament, fired the prime minister and took the reins of energy himself in what opponents known as a “coup.”

Mr. Saied promised in July to reinstate a major minister, and the appointment technically fulfills that pledge whereas doing little to examine his fast accumulation of energy. The brand new prime minister, a former geology professor on the Nationwide Faculty for Engineering, seems to have little political expertise, making her unlikely to pose a lot of menace to the president.

Mr. Saied is comfortably in charge of Tunisia, having given himself the facility to rule by decree, unilaterally write laws, suggest adjustments to the political system and suspend parts of the Constitution. With Parliament frozen and the judiciary, navy and safety providers below his management, he has arrested a number of political opponents and imposed journey bans and asset freezes on businesspeople and judges.

All this has occurred with the blessing of a lot of Tunisia’s inhabitants, who welcomed Mr. Saied’s July 25 energy seize as their solely probability to interrupt the nation’s political logjam and escape its financial and well being crises.

However as months have handed with out Mr. Saied providing a transparent plan for political or financial reforms, extra Tunisians have grown involved over the menace to their fledgling democracy, the one one to emerge from the Arab Spring protests that engulfed the area a decade in the past.

On Sunday, no less than 2,000 folks protested actions, demanding that he put an finish to what they termed his “coup.” He faces mounting criticism from political events and media retailers, together with some that had supported him.

Mr. Saied had mentioned on July 25 that his actions had been non permanent responses to Tunisia’s emergencies and that he would appoint a brand new head of presidency inside 30 days, however later prolonged his “exceptional measures.” Regardless of rising native and worldwide strain, he has stored the suspension of Parliament in place and rejected requires dialogue.

By appointing Tunisia’s first feminine prime minister, the president could hope to counter perceptions amongst Tunisian feminists that he doesn’t help full gender equality due to his opposition to equal inheritance for ladies and men.

However now that Mr. Saied has concentrated authority in his personal palms, she is prone to get pleasure from much less energy than earlier prime ministers and unlikely to do greater than run the day-to-day enterprise of presidency.

The Structure duties the prime minister with selecting a cupboard, however Mr. Saied final week gave himself that duty, saying that constitutional provision would merely not apply.

Massinissa Benlakehal contributed reporting.

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