Old regime's Essid named as Tunisia’s new PM

Old regime's Essid named as Tunisia’s new PM
2 min read
05 January, 2015
Ex-interior minister Habib Essid, who held a number of posts under ousted dictator Ben Ali, has been asked to form a government, but he will need to win the support of other parties.
Habib Essid held a number of posts under Tunisia's ousted regime [AFP]

Habib Essid, who held a number of posts under Tunisia's ousted regime, has been asked to form a government as prime minister designate. 

Habib Essid, 65, was asked by the newly elected president to form a coalition and name a Cabinet over the next month.  Essid, a top interior ministry civil servant under toppled dictator Ben Ali, made the announcement after a meeting with Beji Caid Essebsi who last month won Tunisia's first free presidential election

 "I had the honour of being received today by the president who tasked me with forming the new government," Essid said at the presidential palace.

Mohamed Ennaceur vice president of Nidaa Tounes , the largest political grouping in the country, described Essid as an ‘independent figure’ adding that the country needed his experience. "He is an independent figure... who has skills and experience," Ennaceur said, singling out his "knowledge of security matters." 

After the 2011 revolution that overthrew Ben Ali, Essid also served as interior minister in one of the transitional governments. 

Tunisia completed its political transition with a string of elections in 2014, with the most votes going to Nidaa Tounes, a party that includes many members of the old regime and has promised stability after a transition marked by unrest. 

President Beji Caid Essebsi, who formed the party, was inaugurated last week. Nidaa Tounes must form a coalition with several other parties in the parliament to gain a majority. 

"From today, we will start the consultations with the parties, national institutions and civil society," Essid said. 

Tunisia's moderate Islamists, who won the election immediately after the 2011 revolution, remain the second largest party in the parliament but are not expected to be part of the coalition. 

The prime minister designate will need the support of other parties in parliament for his line-up, as the anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes  does not hold a majority. Ennahda, which came second in the polls, has not ruled out joining a coalition with Nidaa Tounes.