Tunisian parliament rejects proposed government

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FILE PHOTO: Tunisia's elected president Kais Saied gestures during his swearing-in ceremony at the Assembly of People's Representatives in Tunis, Tunisia October 23, 2019REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Tunisia’s elected president Kais Saied gestures during his swearing-in ceremony at the Assembly of People’s Representatives in Tunis, Tunisia October 23, 2019REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo

Tunisian Assembly of People’s Representatives, or the parliament, rejected on Friday the government proposed by Tunisian Prime Minister-designate Habib Jemli.

A total of 134 deputies voted against the proposed government, 72 voted in favor of it while three abstained. Some deputies were absent for the vote.

Jemli’s proposed government was composed of 42 members, including 25 ministers, three ministers to the prime minister, and 14 secretaries of state.

This cabinet needs at least 109 out of the 217 possible votes for approval.

According to the constitution, in this case, Tunisian President Kais Saied will have 10 days to designate, after consultations with parliamentary parties and coalitions, someone else to try to form a government within a month.

Tunisia faces urgent economic problems after relative decline in the nine years since the ouster of veteran autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, who died in exile in September.

Unemployment is more than 15% nationally and 30% in some cities, while inflation is high, the currency is weak and successive governments have struggled to rein in high fiscal deficits and control the public debt.

Tunisia also faces uncertainty from the conflict in neighboring Libya, as ever more people flee the fighting and the security services attempt to seal off the border from any possible infiltration by militants.

Youssef Chahed, who has served as prime minister since 2016, and was a losing candidate in the presidential election, will continue as acting premier until a new government is appointed.

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