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Tunisia: Cabinet Reshuffle Includes 13 Portfolios | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed addresses parliament in Tunis on July 20, 2017 (AFP Photo/FETHI BELAID)

Tunisia- Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed announced on Wednesday a major cabinet reshuffle that included filling three ministerial vacancies (finance, education, international cooperation) and structural changes in so-called sovereign ministries such as the defense and interior.

“I’ve decided on a government reshuffle,” Chahed told reporters, announcing the new line-up after talks with President Beji Caid Essebsi.

A former defense minister, Abdelkrim Zbidi, returns to the post in place of academic Farhat Horchani, while Lotfi Brahem, an ex-head of the national guard, replaces Hedi Majdoub at the interior ministry.

Ridha Chalghoum, a former economic advisor to the president, takes over the key position of finance minister.

The reshuffle maintained the dominance of Ennahdha Party and Al Nidaa Party on the political scene – the new government is expected to tackle the economic and social files and to respond to the opposition’s accusation of “failing to meet Tunisians’ anticipations.”

Jilani Hamami, leader of the opposition Popular Front, said that this amendment covered one-third of the government and instilled the division of shares among parties after four months of political consultations.

Hamami considered that Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has formed a team that supports him and guarantees to follow up on the government.

Previously, Chahed said that marathon meetings were held with political parties, especially the signatories of Carthage Document that led to the formation of a national unity government. The prime minister has informed Essebsi of the reshuffle, although the new constitution doesn’t stipulate that the PM showcase the ministerial changes to the president.

The Tunisian president saw this ministerial amendment as the last hope to put things back on track.

Chahed is expected to address the parliament and call for a session to grant the new government members the vote of confidence after they present their program.

The PM convened on Tuesday with parties and organizations who are signatories to the Cartage Document and presented the economic and social program of the government.