The young democratic Tunisia never ceases to surprise. More than three months after the legislative elections and ten days after the failure of the Jemli government project, rejected by the very fragmented assembly of representatives of the people (ARP), President Kaïs Saïed set his sights on Elyes Fakhfakh, Monday, January 20 . The future chief executive’s mission is to form a government and gain the confidence of the deputies within a month, failing which the Tunisians will be forced to vote again.
The choice is unexpected. Elyes Fakhfakh’s name was certainly on the list of 17 candidates suggested to the president by political parties. Certainly the 47-year-old man, father of a child, has a good CV. A career as an engineer and manager internationally (notably within the Total group) and then in Tunisia. And a political experience as Minister of Tourism and Finance, from 2011 to 2014, when the Islamists of Ennahda shared power in a troika.
Arrived 16th in the presidential election
But he is also a man whom the Tunisians had clearly rejected in the ballot boxes. Secretary General of the Social Democratic Party Ettakatol – decimated by his alliance with Ennahda in the said troika – Elyes Fakhfakh obtained, with 0.34% of the votes, a mediocre sixteenth place in the first round of the presidential election in September 2019, and n ‘was then unable to join the ARP with 0.26% of the vote in the legislative ballot of October 6.
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“This nomination is very surprising. But whatever name is chosen, the deputies will ultimately be inclined to compose and approve the government, they would not want to risk losing their place by calling elections ”, said Abderrahman Hedhili, president of the Tunisian forum for economic and social rights.
A government project to be defined
Several parties have, from this appointment, Monday evening, expressed their good intentions a priori. Starting with the Democratic Current (an anti-corruption party) and the People’s Movement (Arab nationalist). These two parties had, in the final stretch, refused to support the previous government team.
Not to mention the leader of Ennahda, Immed Hammami, even if the party had campaigned for another head of government. “Elyes Fakhfakh is perfectly Ennahda compatible”, said academic Moez Bouraoui, founder of the Tunisian Association for Integrity and Democracy in the elections and recently elected mayor of La Marsa near Tunis. “He participated in the troika and in order to run for the presidential election, he benefited from party sponsorships”, says he.
But for Moez Bouraoui, the big unknown lies in the government project. “What development choices, what priorities for the country? “ he asks. Elyes Fakhkfah said she wants to end decades of poverty and marginalization, and wants to tackle the country’s economic and social challenges and the strengthening of democracy. To do this, he wants “A small government team”. Unlike the recent stillborn government which, despite its 42 ministers and secretaries of state, was unable to obtain the assent of deputies.