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Tunisian prime minister names new government

Tunisia named a new government on Monday, 11 weeks after President Kais Saied ousted the prime minister and suspended parliament to assume near total control in moves that his critics call a coup.

Prime Minister Najla Bouden, appointed by Saied last month, said the government’s main priority would be tackling corruption but though Tunisia faces a looming fiscal crisis, she did not mention any program of economic reforms.

“I am confident we will move from frustration to hope... I warn all who will threaten the state,” said Saied at the ceremony.

Bouden kept the interim finance and foreign ministers Saied had already installed, while naming Taoufik Charfeddine as interior minister.

The appointment of a government has long been demanded by both domestic political players and foreign donors, along with a clear declaration by Saied of a timeline to exit the crisis.
Saied’s moves have cast doubt on Tunisia’s democratic gains since its 2011 revolution that inspired the Arab spring, and have also delayed efforts to seek a financial rescue package from the International Monetary Fund.

Tunisia faces a rapidly looming crisis in public finances, and the IMF has previously indicated it will negotiate only on the basis of government proposals for credible reforms.

Bouden’s appointment prompted the biggest single-day gains for Tunisian bonds after Saied’s intervention, which had prompted a significant sell-off and added to the cost of insuring its debt.

Last month, Saied moved to cement his position, brushing aside most of the constitution to say he could rule by decree and make the government responsible to himself, rather than to parliament.

He had already installed several members of the new cabinet as acting ministers soon after his July intervention, as he purged numerous senior officials from the government, regional positions and the security forces.

Reuters
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