Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Tunisia PM Youssef Chahed elected as leader of new secular party

The faction was created after months of wrangling within ruling coalition party Nidaa Tounes

Tunisia's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed attends a news conference in Tunis. Reuters 
Tunisia's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed attends a news conference in Tunis. Reuters 

Tunisia's new secular party elected the country's prime minister as its new president on Sunday, confirming its candidate ahead of elections later this year.

The Tahya Tounes party, founded in January, confirmed Prime Minister Youssef Chahed as its head, confirming an expected appointment.

The faction was created after months of wrangling within ruling coalition party Nidaa Tounes, resulting in the resignation of dozens of leaders.

The fragile coalition, which also includes the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, is struggling to pass economic reforms demanded by foreign lenders.

Tahya Tounes party (Long Live Tunisia) includes ministers in the government of Mr Chahed and dozens of politicians. The party said it is seeking a comfortable win in the next elections to pursue stalled economic reforms.

Elections are due by the end of this year, with Ennahda, Tunisias largest party, favoured to win, according to polls.

Mr Chahed will continue as Prime minister until the next elections and will not resign, political sources said.

The North African country has been hailed as the Arab uprisings' only democratic success because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering the kind of violent upheavals seen in Syria and Libya.

But nine cabinets since then have failed to resolve Tunisias economic problems, including high inflation and unemployment. Impatience is rising among lenders such as the International Monetary Fund, who have kept the country afloat.

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Updated: June 2, 2019 10:37 AM

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