Tunisia PM designate announces a technocratic new government

Hichem Mechichi, seen here in February 2020, said he would 'work to form a government that meets the expectations of all Tunisians' FETHI BELAID AFP/File
Hichem Mechichi, seen here in February 2020, said he would ‘work to form a government that meets the expectations of all Tunisians’ FETHI BELAID AFP/File

Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi announced on Monday a cabinet of independent technocrats without parties, seeking to distance the government from political conflicts and focus on reviving the ailing economy.

Mechichi, 46, is an independent, and he was an interior minister in the government of Elyes Fakhfakh who resigned in July over allegations of a conflict of interest.

Premier named the liberal economist Ali Kooli as minister of Economy, finance, and investment. Kooli is CEO of Arab Banking Corporation(ABC Bank) in Tunisia.

The former interior minister’s decision to bypass consultations with political factions had angered, among others, the powerful Islamist party Ennahdha, which has demanded a “political” government reflecting the balance of forces in parliament.

But Ennahdha and other parties have also spoken of the need to approve the government to avoid dragging the already crisis-hit country into disruptive early elections.

The 46-year-old Mechichi is the third head of government to be appointed since polls last October, which resulted in a parliament divided among deeply antagonistic blocs.