TUNIS: Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid on Monday presented a new coalition government with a cabinet dominated by the secular Nidaa Tounes party but also including members from its Islamist rivals.
“We have made changes… to widen the composition of the government with the participation of other political parties,” Essid said after the moderate Islamist Ennahda party had warned it would vote against a line-up that included none of its members.
The new cabinet, which includes a minister and three state secretaries from Ennahda, will be put before parliament for a vote of confidence on Wednesday.
“We have no more time to lose, we are in a race against the clock,” Essid said as he announced the line-up at the presidency.
Essid’s government will be the first since landmark parliamentary and presidential elections last year that were the first freely contested polls in the history of the North African country.
The anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes party of President Beji Caid Essebsi won the largest number seats in October’s general election, with Ennahda in second place.
But Nida Tounes did not secure a majority and Ennahda, which holds 69 of parliament’s 217 seats, had rejected a cabinet that did not include any of its members.
Tunisia has struggled to form a stable government since it became the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings by ousting longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
But despite some Islamist attacks, Tunisia has not suffered from the widespread unrest that has shaken other Arab Spring countries.