The announcement by Tunisian President Kais Saied, on Wednesday, of the appointment of Najla Boden as head of the new government in the country, sparked mixed reactions from Tunisian parties, politicians and organizations, some of whom praised the decision, while others considered it “outside the constitutional legitimacy.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the Tunisian presidency announced that Saeed had assigned Najla Boden to form the government, becoming the first woman in the country’s history to hold the position.
Boden assumes the task with “extraordinary measures” announced by President Said since last July 25, which the majority of parties considered a “coup against the constitution” and “an attempt to establish a dictatorial regime”, while others supported them and saw them as a “correction of the course” amid political and economic crises.
These measures included the dismissal of Prime Minister Hisham al-Mashishi, with Saeed taking over the executive authority with the help of a government whose prime minister is appointed, in addition to heading the Public Prosecution Office, freezing the powers of Parliament, and lifting the immunity of MPs.
On September 22 last, Saeed issued Presidential Decree No. 117, according to which he decided to abolish the constitutionality monitoring body for laws, and to issue legislation by presidential decree.
Commenting on Boden’s appointment, Yamina Zoghlami, a member of the Ennahda movement bloc (53 seats out of 217 in the frozen parliament), said: “It is clear that the (new) government has a structure and a program that must be presented to Parliament in implementation of the constitution. Otherwise, it is contrary to the provisions of the constitution and constitutional legitimacy.”
Al-Zoghlami added, in a post on her Facebook page, “I wish that a woman would be elected to head the government within the framework of legitimacy, with all due respect to Mrs. Najla Boden.”
In turn, the Secretary-General of the Democratic Current Party (22 seats), Ghazi Chaouachi, welcomed the appointment of Bouden as the first woman assigned to head a Tunisian government with full constitutional powers.
Al-Shawashi said, in a post on his Facebook page, that he is waiting for “the head of state to retract the presidential order that violates the constitution No. 117 (issued last week).”
Meanwhile, Osama Al-Khelaifi, head of the Heart of Tunisia bloc (28 seats), expressed his hope that “Ms. Boden will gain the confidence of Parliament after the formation of her government, as stipulated in Chapter 89 of the Constitution so that her government becomes legitimate.”
And Al-Khelaifi continued, in a post he posted on his Facebook page: “I wish her (Boden) every success in her duties as the first woman appointed to head the government in the history of Tunisia,” stressing that “the constitution is the decisive factor.”
For his part, independent MP Al-Sahbi Samara expressed his hope that Najla Boden’s government would receive the approval of Parliament.
Samara said, in an interview with Radio MAD (privately): “This government cannot be legitimate without the approval of the majority of parliamentarians.”
In the same context, the resigned leader of the Ennahda movement, Samir Delou, considered, in a blog post on his Facebook page, that “the appointment of Najla Boudin as prime minister for the first time in Tunisia’s history is a decision that deserves praise.”
Delo addressed Boden, saying: “Basing your appointment on Order 117 makes it unconstitutional, and your government is an illegitimate government, and despite all that I wish you success in serving the Tunisians.”
Praise the appointment
On the other hand, the head of the National Union of Tunisian Women (Independent), Radhia Jerbi, considered that “the appointment of Najla Boden as the first woman to head the government is the culmination of Tunisian women’s struggles over decades for full citizenship, equality, access to decision-making positions and participation in managing public affairs.”
In a statement to Mosaique radio (privately), Al-Jribi confirmed that “President of the State, Qais Saeed, has dedicated with this appointment what the National Union of Women has reassured about its level of respect for women’s rights.”
For her part, the head of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (Independent), Naila Zoughlami, said in a statement to “Mosaic” that “assigning the President of the Republic to a woman to form the next government is a demand that the organization has demanded since the first meeting they met with the president, as well as their demand for an equitable government.”
Zoghlami considered that “the most important thing to assign Najla Boden as the first woman in the history of Tunisia to form the government is the program, the powers, and the structure.”
The selection of “Boden” for the position comes in light of the difficult economic conditions that Tunisia is experiencing, which have been exacerbated by the repercussions of the Corona pandemic, and the political instability that the country is going through.