Tunisia: Prime Minister Essid appoints a new cabinet
Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid amid growing criticism targeting his management of affairs appointed a new cabinet marked by 13 new entries including news secretaries at Foreign and Interior Ministries in a bid to boost efficiency.
Most members of the former cabinet have kept their places following the reshuffle except handful of ministers including Foreign and Interior Ministers who have been removed.
Interior Minister Najam Gharsalli under whom the country witnessed its deadliest terrorist attacks has been replaced by Hedi Majdoub, former Secretary of State in charge of local affairs and former cabinet director at Interior Ministry.
Prime Minister Essid has also replaced Foreign Minister Taïeb Baccouche by former presidential adviser Khemais Jinaou, also known as veteran diplomat.
Essid also appointed Omar Mansour as Justice Minister after former ministry occupant Mohamed Salah Ben Aissa was fired following a fall-out with his boss.
The new cabinet according to analysts is highly expected. The country is going through a tough economic period with an economic growth at its lowest rate; nearly 0 per cent in 2015.
Essid’s new team is also expected to provide solutions to curb terrorist acts ever growing in the one-time most secular country among Arab countries now troubled by Islamist threats.
Tunisia lived its darkest modern time last year after the country was rocked by three terrorist attacks which killed more than 70 people. March 2015 two gunmen said trained in Libya massacred 21 people mostly foreign tourists at Bardo Museum in Tunis. Also in June a lone Tunisian believed trained in IS camp in Libya mowed down 38 people among whom 30 British tourists at a Sousse resort hotel. Furthermore In November a suicide bomber killed 12 members of the presidential guard.
Tunisia is also facing unprecedented exodus of its nationals to hotbed conflict zones including Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen where they fight in the terrorist groups’ ranks. A UN working group estimated that more than 5,000 Tunisians including 700 women have left the country to join terrorist groups.