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Tunisia's Parliament Reshuffle

A Fresh Start or False Hope?

The Assembly of People's Representatives in Tunis, Tunisia, January 11, 2016. Zoubeir Souissi / Reuters

Less than two years after its first democratic parliamentary elections, Tunisia has a new prime minister. On August 3, President Beji Caid Essebsi appointed Youssef Chahed to that post, after Tunisia’s parliament voted Prime Minister Habib Essid out on July 30.

In an overwhelming expression of dissatisfaction, only three members of parliament voted in favor of retaining the prime minister. The 118 members who voted against him largely cited Essid’s failures since February 2015 to revive Tunisia’s economy or make the country more secure against terrorist attacks. In particular, Essid was unable to get parliament to pass a much-needed economic reform package that aimed to improve Tunisia’s investment climate, address rising unemployment, and tackle corruption. According to the parliamentarians, Essid failed to adequately address political infighting, which ground the reform process to a halt. As social protests increased across Tunisia, Essid was viewed by some in government as being too

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