Chahed Announces New Tunisia Gov’t

Chahed Announces New Tunisia Gov’tChahed Announces New Tunisia Gov’t

Tunisia’s premier-designate has announced nominees for a new national unity government.

Task No. 1 for the incoming ministers will be rejuvenating the economy. Tunisia’s newly nominated prime minister has announced that his government will include members of the previous administration in key posts.

Defense Minister Farhat Horchani, Interior Minister Hedi Mejdoub and Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui would all maintain their portfolios in the new Cabinet. The current transport, tourism, education and equipment ministers would keep their posts as well, AFP reported.

“All Tunisians are expecting from us,” Prime Minister-designate Youssef Chahed said. “We have no right to let them down.”

Chahed, a member of the secularist Nidaa Tounes party, called on “all political parties and unions to take their responsibilities, support this government, and put the country’s interest ahead of any consideration.”

A 40-year-year-old agricultural sciences specialist and university professor, Chahed became prime minister after his predecessor lost a confidence vote last month. He had served as a junior minister, handling the Fisheries portfolio.

Should parliament approve his government, Chahed would become Tunisia’s youngest prime minister since the country’s independence from France in 1956.

The proposed Cabinet, which parliament must approve, includes 26 ministers and 14 junior ministers, five of them younger than 35, from several political parties and independents. Judge Ghazi Jeribi would become justice minister.

Fifty-five-year-old state bank director, Lamia Zribi, one of eight women nominated to the new government would become the finance minister. Chahed also chose a woman, Samira Merai, to head the Health Ministry.

Mohamed Trabelsi would lead the Social Affairs Ministry and Abid Briki, a former union official, would become minister of public functions. Both men have close ties to a union that in the past resisted austerity measures.