- Title: Tunisian president accepts new ministers, easing high-level standoff
- Date: 8th November 2018
- Summary: TUNIS, TUNISIA (NOVEMBER 8, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF JOURNALISTS SEATED AWAITING ARRIVAL OF TUNISIAN PRESIDENT BEJI CAID ESSEBSI ESSEBSI ARRIVING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TUNISIAN PRESIDENT, BEJI CAID ESSEBSI, SAYING: "If Tunisians do not have milk, water, jobs, then there is no stability. The government, which is responsible for public policies, must monitor and rectify situations in order to create the necessary conditions for stability. Stability is not represented by people in power or even by the president himself being in power that is not stability. Stability means making the right policies that meet the legitimate demands of the Tunisian people." VARIOUS OF ESSEBSI (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TUNISIAN PRESIDENT, BEJI CAID ESSEBSI, SAYING: "Indeed, at around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m., the head of government called me and told me that he was going to announce the reshuffle of the government. Why is it so urgent? Is there a danger in the house? Is there anything new? No, he told me, I decided it. I told him I don't agree, I'm not a button you can press, I have to study the issue first." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTION DURING NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TUNISIAN PRESIDENT, BEJI CAID ESSEBSI, SAYING: "What is the destiny of this appointed government? Its destiny is in the hands of parliament. If parliament considers it to be a good government, then we will take note of that and react according to the requirements of the constitution and what is incumbent on the honour of the office I hold, because there is honour. If there is a different way out, we'll see. I hope everything will be fine." WOODEN PLACARD ON DESK READING (Arabic): "The President" NEWS CONFERENCE ENDS
- Embargoed: 22nd November 2018 15:52
- Keywords: Tunisia Government Reshuffle President Beji Caid Essebsi
- Location: TUNIS, TUNISIA
- City: TUNIS, TUNISIA
- Country: Tunisia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00195N866T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Thursday (November 8) he was ready to swear in ten new ministers named in a reshuffle that he had originally rejected, easing a high-level political standoff that has alarmed donors.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed announced the reshuffle on Monday - but Essebsi quickly rejected it, saying he had not been consulted.
On Thursday, he relented and told reporters he would swear in the ministers if parliament approved the changes. "I told him I don't agree, I am not a button you can press, I have to study the issue first," he said.
The dispute highlighted tensions at the highest levels of Tunisian politics that have been exacerbated by an economic crisis.
Chahed leads a government dominated by the ruling Nidaa Tounes party and backed by moderate Islamists.
But the prime minister has been caught up in a dispute with the leader of the party, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, who is also the president's son and has accused Chahed of failing to tackle high inflation, unemployment and other problems.
The political wrangling has alarmed donors which have kept the country afloat with loans granted in exchange for a promise of reforms such as cutting a bloated public service.
Tunisia's economy has been in crisis since the North African state kicked off the Muslim World's "Arab Spring" uprisings by toppling autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
Chahed's reshuffle announced on Monday is the 10th major cabinet overhaul since then. He said it would "make the work of government more effective and to put an end to the political and economic crisis".
Chahed kept the leadership of finance, foreign and the interior ministries unchanged.
He named Jewish businessman Rene Trabelsi as minister of tourism in the Muslim Arab country, just the third member of the small minority to enter the cabinet since Tunisia's independence in 1956.
A former foreign minister under Ben Ali, Kamel Morjan, was named minister in charge of the public service, the country's main employer.
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