Can Ahmed Hachani ease Tunisia’s deepening economic and social crisis?
Tunisian President Kais Saied appointed Ahmed Hachani as the new prime minister, replacing Najla Bouden, the Tunisian presidency said early on Wednesday. The change comes amid a deepening economic and social crisis in the country.
Bouden took office just a couple of years back, making her the first female prime minister both in Tunisia as well as the wide Arab world. The appointment followed Saied removing Hichem Mechichi and grabbing control of almost all powers.
The president dissolved parliament the same year in a move the opposition called a coup. Bouden’s government, however, couldn’t effectively address the ongoing crisis, amid concerns the country would fail to pay its foreign debts due to a severe financial crisis.
The worrying situation saw a massive shortage of several commodities including rice, sugar, bread and coffee. While the previous government backed reforms to obtain a $1.9 billion IMF loan, Saied strongly opposed any changes that would cut subsidies on food and energy.
The president stressed facilitating any such reform programme could cause acute social tensions. In recent weeks, Saied has frequently reiterated the need for officials and government to act to address problems and poor public services, including frequent power and water cuts.
“There are great challenges that we must raise … to preserve our homeland,” Saied told Hachani, who served as human resources director at the country’s central bank, after he took the constitutional oath. It remains to be seen what unique plans Hachani has up his sleeve.