Differing Tunisian political groups voice support, concern over Youssef Chahed for new PM

Published August 3rd, 2016 - 10:00 GMT
A meeting of the Tunisian parliament on July 30, 2016. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)
A meeting of the Tunisian parliament on July 30, 2016. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)

"Ennahda will accept Youssef Chahed’s nomination for PM if he is officially proposed by President of the Republic," said spokesman for the movement, Imed Hammami.

"Ennahda is not against the selection of a member of the party that won the parliamentary elections (Nidaa Tounes) for prime minister, he added.

Speaking to TAP Tuesday, he said the movement prefers to decide on this issue after the official appointment of the person to be tasked with forming a national unity government.

The appointment of Youssef Chahed to form a national unity government could be officially announced on Wednesday, the Presidency of the Republic said Monday.

President of the Free Patriotic Union (UPL), Slim Riahi called “revolutionary” proposing Youssef Chahed to head the unity government. It is "a revolutionary decision that must be backed for the success of the next stage," he urged.

Slim Riahi told TAP his party has reacted positively to the proposal of the President of the Republic whom he praised the courage and pragmatism.

Spokesman for Al-Joumhouri party Issam Chebbi said Tuesday "Youssef Chahed is not capable of assuming the duty of prime minister in this exceptional and delicate period in the country’s history.”

Opposition parties participating in consultations on forming a national unity government will do "everything possible to open new paths before the consultations," he added in a statement to TAP.

Though he recognised the integrity and righteousness of Youssef Chahed who was proposed by the President as candidate for PM, Issam Chebbi considered that he is not able to assume the duty of PM in this delicate stage of the country's history.

He believes that if there is a will to appoint a prime minister from Nidaa Tounes, the next government will be "far from being a government of national unity.

He, moreover, voiced astonishment at the cancellation of the second round of consultations and the proposal of Youssef Chahed to head the next government without having discussed the criteria and composition of the government.

Under the Constitution, it is the right of the president to propose a personality to head the government, he said, noting, however, that it is better, in this exceptional stage, to have a consensual candidate for PM.

For its part, the Echaab Movement pointed out that Youssef Chahed, who currently holds the position of Minister for Local Affairs, is not the man of the stage.

Secretary General of the movement Zouhaier Maghzaoui said even if it is true that, under the Constitution, the president appoints the prime minister after the withdrawal of confidence in Essid cabinet, this process is not solely constitutional. It is also the result of a political consensus, involving the selection of a prime minister who should benefit from the agreement of parties that signed the "Carthage Document".

Maghzaoui further said the movement, a signatory of Carthage document, refuses that the next prime minister to be chosen from members of the outgoing cabinet or a party.

The unity government requires standing at equal distance from all political parties, according to him.


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