After months of uncertainty due to the lack of government in Tunisia, President Kais Saied issued a decree appointing Prime Minister Najla Buden Romdhane, who thus becomes the first woman in the country’s history to hold the position. The new government will have limited power after the institutional coup by Saied, who on July 15 decreed a state of exception and assumed full powers to “save social peace.”
Najla Buden revealed on Monday the composition of his cabinet that will have 25 portfolios, ten of them led by women. Among the most prominent figures are the Minister of the Economy, Samir Said, a long-time banker, and the Minister of Defense, Imed Memmich, an expert in the fight against corruption in different international organizations, including the United Nations. The Foreign Ministry will continue under the leadership of Othman Jerandi and will maintain political personalities placed in recent months by the president, such as Colonel Major Ali Mrabet, sixth head of the Ministry of Health since the start of the health crisis.
The newly appointed Executive will have to face a delicate financial situation which, according to the Tunisian Central Bank alerted last week, could jeopardize public finances to cover state budgets. The new government will make the fight against corruption its workhorse and will aim “to regain the confidence of the citizen in the State and that of foreign states in our country”, declared Buden in his first official speech during the inauguration ceremony.
Buden, 63, was serving as the director of Promesa, a government initiative aimed at modernizing the Tunisian education system. She was also a professor at El Manar University when she was called to become the head of government on September 29, more than two months after the impeachment of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on July 25 by President Saied, who also froze Parliament and took over the judiciary.