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NNA – Tunisia’s parliament passed a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Habib Essid on Saturday, effectively disbanding the government of the U.S.-trained agricultural economist.
The no-confidence motion was passed by 118 votes, easily crossing the 109-vote threshold, following a debate that stretched late into the night. Although the result was expected—Mr. Essid has faced criticism from across Tunisia’s political spectrum—the vote was a mark of the instability that has bedeviled the North African country since it kicked off a wave of pro-democracy rebellions across the Arab world in 2011.
Mohamed Ennaceur, the president of Tunisia’s parliament, told lawmakers that the country was “living through a difficult situation that demands sacrifices from all” and added that “we must now look to the future to return hope to all Tunisians.”
Unlike other Arab countries such as Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Libya—whose uprisings have degenerated into coups or civil conflicts—Tunisia has maintained its parliamentary democracy in the face of jihadist attacks, inflation and stubbornly high unemployment rates.
But the difficulties have steadily eroded the authority of Mr. Essid, whose position has also been undermined by political maneuvering within Tunisia’s secular Nida Tounis party and pressure from the country’s president, Beji Caid Essebsi, who called for a new national unity government last month.
Mr. Essid said he would do his best to make sure the transition to the new government was tranquil. Although lawmakers fiercely criticized his government during the extraordinary parliamentary session, the prime minister said the debate “consecrated Tunisia’s nascent democracy.”
“Despite the serious problems our country faces, we have no fear for Tunisia, which has the resources to face up to the challenges,” Mr. Essid said, before receiving a standing ovation by the lawmakers who had ousted him.–AP