Tunisian PM Habib Essid’s No-Confidence Vote

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid faced a vote of no confidence in parliament, which resulted in the dissolution of his government, after less than two years since he came to office.

During his mandate as PM, Essid failed to implement new reforms aimed at stabilizing the economy and accelerating the country’s economic, social and security progress. This made him unpopular as a political leader among his colleagues and overshadowed his competencies and abilities to improve the economic climate in Tunisia.

The economic stagnation was seen by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi as a step back for the country, especially since becoming a democracy in 2011, which prompted him to demand the formation of a unity government able to deal with the pressing issues of political divisions in parliament, security attacks and economic challenges that were taking place in the country. However, Prime Minister Essid was against President Essebsi’s proposal, citing the reason for his opposition as the bad timing of the President’s suggestion, which supposedly delayed the development and implementation of other key projects if it were to be pursued. As a result, Essib faced the no confidence vote.

It has been reported that the motion was supported by an overwhelmingly large number of MPs, specifically 118 votes out of 191, with only 3 votes in favor of Habib Essid. Still, Essid highlighted the fact that the whole process of the parliamentary debate session that dismissed him is an act of true democracy and consolidates “Tunisia’s nascent democracy”.

Tunisia became a democracy in 2011, after a number of civil protests led to a revolutionary movement, also known as the Jasmine Revolution, which culminated with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali being expelled and forced to flee the country. Consequently, Tunisia became the first country in the region to embrace democracy and was seen as a model for the other Arab countries, where numerous protests took place against the political regimes in power. In addition to being the first Arab democratic country and having the first free political elections in 2014, Tunisia was also a pioneer in the foreign policy department, developing economic partnerships with United States and the European Union, thus, making important steps for raising the country’s economic level and improving its citizens’ quality of life. Moreover, in accordance with the democratic values, Tunisia had an important agenda for internal progress and development that was illustrated by adopting laws that supported women’s rights to work and participate in elections, which was an important step in promoting gender equality.

However, despite all these efforts and measures, the progress was slow and the country faced many challenges such as terrorist attacks, high levels of unemployment, slow economic progress, which led the President to adopt drastic measures such as the no confidence vote for the Prime Minister Habib Essid.