Tunisia's incoming PM plans restructuring of economic ministries
By Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's premier-designate plans to gather the ministries of finance, investment and state property into a single department to be led by economist Ali Kooli under plans to revamp government and revive the economy, political sources said. Hichem Mechichi, a political independent, is expected to announce his technocratic government's 23 ministers within the next few days, the sources told Reuters on Sunday.
By Tarek Amara
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's premier-designate plans to gather the ministries of finance, investment and state property into a single department to be led by economist Ali Kooli under plans to revamp government and revive the economy, political sources said.
Hichem Mechichi, a political independent, is expected to announce his technocratic government's 23 ministers within the next few days, the sources told Reuters on Sunday. Kooli is CEO of Arab Banking Corporation(ABC Bank) in Tunisia.
Mechichi was proposed by President Kais Saied last month to replace Elyes Fakhfakh, who quit over allegations of conflict of interest, deepening a political crisis at a time when international lenders are asking Tunis to make painful reforms.
Authorities have been struggling to defuse constant protests over widespread unemployment, lack of investment for development and poor health, electricity and water services.
Western countries have hailed Tunisia for its comparatively successful transition to democracy since the 2011 revolution that ended decades of autocratic rule.
Many Tunisians have grown frustrated since then over economic stagnation, a decline in living standards and decay in public services while political parties often seem more focused on staying in office instead of tackling problems.
Mechichi, 46, needs to form a government capable of winning a confidence vote in parliament by a simple majority by Wednesday or face dissolution of parliament by the president and another election, deepening instability.
Mechichi said earlier this month his government would focus on rescuing public finances and easing social hardships, saying that while political turmoil had dragged out, "some Tunisians have not found drinking water".
Tunisia's tourism-dependent economy shrank 21.6 pct in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year, due to the coronavirus crisis.
The government said last month it had asked four creditor countries to delay debt repayments, as it announced more pessimistic economic and budget forecasts for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.