Tunisia’s President Beji Qaid Al Sebsi named Yousuf Shahed as prime minister on Wednesday after parliament ousted Habib Al Sid in a vote of no-confidence because of his handling of economic reforms and security.
A junior minister in Al Sid’s government, Shahed, 41, is an agricultural sciences specialist and academic who has taught in France and Tunisia, and also a senior member in the secular Nidaa Tunis party.
Al Sebsi had been pushing for a new national unity government in an attempt to overcome political infighting in the ruling coalition and more efficiently tackle economic reforms and the threat of Islamist militants.
“The president has put me in charge of the national unity government. This is a message of confidence for young people also,” Shahed told reporters. “In this delicate time we need a lot of audacious decisions.” Shahed dismissed reports he had any family ties to Al Sebsi, responding to opposition charges that he was a distant relative of the president. Local media and party sources have also said he has family ties.
Nidaa Tunis and the Islamist Al Nahda party, both part of the ruling coalition, control a majority of the seats in parliament, which means Shahed’s nomination is likely to be accepted by lawmakers when they vote on his approval.
Since its 2011 revolution to oust Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali, Tunisia has grown into a democracy praised as a model for the region. But militant attacks have tested the government and political infighting has slowed economic progress needed to ease social tensions especially among ranks of young employed.
Source: News Agencies