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Tunisian PM Appoints New Regional Governors after Growing Protests | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Protesters block the road which is usually used by foreign oil companies to go the oilfield in Tataouine, Tunisia, May 12, 2017. (Reuters)

Tunis – Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed announced in Thursday changes in the positions of four regional governors in wake growing protests over poor living conditions, lack of development and high unemployment.

Sami al-Ghaby has been appointed governor of Kebili, Saleh Mterawi has been named governor of Tozeur, Adel Shlewi was named governor of Sousse and Mounir Hamdi was appointed governor of Kairouan, said a statement issued by the premiership.

In addition, the government announced the details of the restructuring of the Interior Ministry that restores the administrative and security privileges of regional governors. They also now answer to the Ministry and the premiership.

The governors have authority over regional security chiefs and the heads of security stations. They therefore have jurisdiction to take immediate decisions in the case of the organization of protests that may hinder production in areas.

The governor effectively becomes the representative of the president of the republic and the main overseer of security. This is a legal precedent because the constitution of the second republic does not grant the president absolute executive power like it was in the past, explained Ayadh bin Ashour, a legal professor.

The president cannot grant official jurisdiction that violates the 2014 constitution, he said.

In a related development, Defense Minister Farhat al-Harshany appeared before the parliamentary security and defense council to explain President Beji Caid Essebsi’s decision to task the military to protect natural resources facilities against protests.

The opposition had accused governing bodies of “militarizing power generation facilities.”

The parliamentary panel had requested clarifications over the measures that the Defense Ministry is seeking to carry out at these sites.