Tunisia PM Essid announces unity government

Politicians expected to ratify a government including the biggest rivals of the Nidaa Tounes party, Ennahda.

Tunisia PM unveils govt line-up
Essid's new proposal comes after Ennahda and other parties said they would reject his first proposed government [Getty Images]

Tunisia’s prime minister-elect, Habib Essid, has announced a unity government which politicians are expected to confirm. 

The new government, if passed later on Wednesday, will include the main rival of Essid’s Nidaa Tounes party, Ennahda. 

“Today we elected to be part of the government, not a part of the opposition,” Vice President of Parliament and co-founder of the Ennahda party Abdelfattah Mourou told Al Jazeera. 

“We should live up to the expectations of the people, and would like to see polarisation come to an end,” Mourou said.

Since the 2011 revolution in Tunisia, the political landscape has alternated between deadlocks and compromises between Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes.

Second proposal

This is the second government proposed by Essid.

The first government excluded Ennahda, with Essid choosing his cabinet exclusively from Nidaa Tounes and several smaller parties.

He entered into negotiations to propose another government after Ennahda, leftist party Popular Front and a smaller partner, Afek Tounes, all said they would reject his first proposal.

At the time, the Popular Front party told Al Jazeera that it would not vote for the cabinet due to reservations over some government members with links to the former regime of deposed ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

President Beji Caid Essebsi, leader of Nidaa Tounes, is himself a former Ben Ali official.

The proposed unity government is expected to gain the 109 seats needed, and to focus on issues shared by Nidaa Tounes and Ennahda, such as the economy and security.

Reporting from Tunis, Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri said: “We are expecting it to go through. The fact that Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes are planning to go into coalition should guarantee approval.

“But there are divisions within Nidaa Tounes whether it should go into alliance with a party that differs from them on the role of religion in state affairs.”

There are also concerns that a unity government could weaken democracy due to a lack of a strong opposition.

It is unclear how many of Nidaa’s MPs will support the unity government.

Source: Al Jazeera