Tunisia: President withdraws support for PM Chahed; urges political elite to shoulder responsibility amidst crisis

  • July 19, 2018

Tunis, Tunisia, July 19, 2018/- President of Tunisia, Beji Caid Essebsi, publicly withdrew his support for the country’s embattled Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, blaming the premier for high unemployment and sluggish economy.

In a television interview broadcast on Sunday, the 91-year-old President apparently responded to the growing demands, both within his party and the Parliament, calling for Chahed to either step down or resign should the current economic crisis continue.

However, many observers have pointed that the dramatic dismissal of the Prime Minister has been orchestrated to set the stage for the President’s son, Hafedh Essebsi, who is the executive director of Nidaa Tounes, the political party his father helped to found in 2012.

To discuss “ways to overcome the current political crisis,” the President chaired a meeting at Carthage Palace on Monday, according to a Presidency press release.

“All political parties must shoulder their responsibility to reach necessary solutions and ensure the nation’s interest prevails,” the press release pointed out.

Attending stakeholders are all called upon to assume their responsibility so as to tackle this crisis, Caid Essebsi said as the meeting began in a video posted on the Presidency of the Republic’s official Facebook page.

He also said he is fully determined to make every effort and use means available as well as his friendships from around the world for the sake of Tunisia and to safeguard its interests.

The meeting was held in the presence of Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) Mohamed Ennaceur, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labour Union, Noureddine Tabboubi and President of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (French: UTICA) Samir Majoul.

Ennahdha President Rached Ghannouhci and Executive Director of Nidaa Tounes Hafedh Caid Essebsi also took part in this meeting.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has found an ally in Islamist party Ennahda, which has agreed to maintain its support of him. But it has called upon him to consider a cabinet reshuffle and to not run in the presidential elections next year.

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