İrem UZUN -TDO- The Tunisian parliament voted confidence in the technocratic government proposed by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi in the early hours of Wednesday.  The new government, which required 109 of the 217-member body to vote in favour, eventually passed with 134 votes.  This is the third government to oversee Tunisia since the legislative elections in October last year, continuing a legacy of political turmoil that has dogged the country through its recent history.

Tunisia’s parliament hoped to close a period of political instability overnight as it voted in a third government in a year. Debates prior to Tuesday voting, the two biggest parties had already indicated they plan to support Hichem Mechichi, who has proposed a technocratic cabinet without political affiliation. As debates began on Tuesday, Mechichi told parliament that “The government formation comes at a time political instability and the people’s patience has reached its limit. Our priority will be to address the economic and social situation... stop the bleeding of public finances, start talks with lenders and begin reform programs, including for public companies and subsidies.”

Mechichi proposed a government with 25 ministers and three secretaries of state that includes seven women and a blind man - a first in the country's history.  The 46-year-old has pledged to enact policies seen as critical to revitalising a tourism-reliant sluggish economy that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. After the vote, Mechichi said his government would be able to "move forward" provided it was not bogged down in political tensions.

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