Tunisian president nominates new PM

Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi (Right) and the new Prime Minister designate, Youssef Chahed. PHOTO: EPA

TUNISIA’S President Beji Caid Essebsi has named Youssef Chahed as prime minister after parliament ousted Habib Essid in a vote of no-confidence because of his handling of economic reforms and security.

Chahed, 41, a former minister for local affairs, announced the appointment himself on Wednesday, warning Tunisians to brace themselves for “exceptional sacrifices”.

“The president has put me in charge of the national unity government. This is a message of confidence for young people also,” Chahed said. “In this delicate time we need a lot of audacious decisions.”

Essebsi 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 security threat.

Chahed dismissed reports he had any family ties to Essebsi, responding to opposition charges that he was a distant relative of the president. 

The nomination was likely to be approved by a parliamentary vote, as required. 

The parliament has a month to do so, but the vote could come sooner. Chahed said he could start consultations to form a new government on Wednesday.

He said the government would be a “government of youths” with more female ministers than the three in the outgoing cabinet and favouring no one party.

“Today, we enter into a new stage that demands efforts and exceptional sacrifices and boldness to find out-of-the-box solution to the nation’s problems,” Chahed said. “We will speak frankly to the people about the reality of the country’s financial and economic situation.”

Chahed, setting out priorities, said the first is the war on “terrorism”.