Tunisia: Premier Mahdi Jomaa Fails to Present his Cabinet on Time


New interim Premier Mahdi Jomaa failed last night to present the final and official list of ministers of the new government that will manage the country’s affairs until the forthcoming elections take place.

Mr. Jomaa was supposed to present his cabinet last night. The announcement was postponed because of disagreements over the current minister of Internal Affairs. While secular political factions disagreed over keeping Lotfi ben Jeddou as the head of the ministry, the Ennahdha governing party insisted on including him in the new government.

During the press conference that was supposed to cover the announcement of the new government, Mr. Jomaa said that he “prefers not to present his list of ministers to interim President Marzouki, yet.” He said that for him to properly identify the character of the next government, he needs to find a common ground between the governing party and government opponents in selecting the ministers.

Mr. Jomaa’s nomination came following to the resignation of former Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh, marking the end of a two-month political standoff. Laarayedh’s government was criticized for failing to rein in violence committed by the Chaambi terrorists who were condemned for the assassination of secular figures Chokri Belaid (February 6, 2013) and Mohamed Brahmi (July 25, 2013), and the brutal slain of a number of Tunisian soldiers.

Although Ennahdha moderate Islamist ruling party wanted to lead the country into elections, the leader of Ennahdha Rached Ghannouchi reached an agreement with opposition parties in a bid to break months of deadlock.

Political factions agreed on a caretaker government of non-partisan experts led by Mehdi Jomaa, the new interim Premier who will oversee the upcoming elections later in the year.

Following the nomination of Mehdi Jomaa, members of the National Constituency Assembly (NCA) resumed their work to ratify the new constitution, nominate the electoral board and prepare an electoral law.

The NCA has endorsed the new constitution after holding an article-by-article voting on January 23, 2014. The final voting is likely to occur on January 27, 2014. The full charter is to be ratified once it receives the necessary two-thirds majority of the votes. In case the two-thirds condition is not met, Tunisians will have to vote on the constitution in referendum.


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