Sep 29, 2021 - World

Tunisia names its first woman prime minister

Photo of Najla Bouden Romdhane and Kais Saied.
President Kais Saied speaks to Najla Bouden Romdhane. Photo: Handout/Tunisian Presidency

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Wednesday named Najla Bouden Romdhane as the country's first woman prime minister.

Driving the news: The announcement comes two months after Saied removed the previous prime minister, Hichem Mechichi, suspended the Parliament and assumed wide executive powers in a move critics called a coup.

  • Saied has been under domestic and international pressure to form a new government, but last week he dismissed the constitution and said he could rule by decree, Reuters notes.

What he's saying: Saied said he urged Bouden to form a government as quickly as possible "because we have lost a lot of time," according to Reuters.

  • The president called Bouden's appointment "an honor for Tunisia and a homage to Tunisian women," per Reuters.

The big picture: Bouden is a little-known university engineer who has worked with the World Bank but has little government experience. Her lack of experience echoes that of Saied, who won the presidential election in 2019 as a political newcomer and a law professor.

  • Tunisia is facing a looming financial crisis "after years of economic stagnation were aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic and political infighting," Reuters writes.

Between the lines: The prime minister's role will likely be less important than in previous administrations after Saied last week said the government will be responsible to the president during an emergency period, per Reuters.

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