Tunisian Finance Minister Resigns
Tunisia’s Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi resigned this week, citing excessive spending and the recent firing of the head of Tunisia’s Central Bank Mustapha Kamel Nabli. Dimassi called the decision to dismiss Nabli “random and unfair” and “something which will have very negative repercussions on the state’s reputation and our country’s image, domestically and abroad.” Dimassi also alleged that the government has suddenly escalated spending at dangerous levels at the expense of helping the “modest classes.”
Additionally, security has been restored [French] in Sidi Bouzid as workers who had rioted Thursday over withheld pay began to receive money. Government officials rushed funds to the city to calm construction workers after nearly 70 people sacked the regional government offices. Also, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced March 20, 2013 as the official date of Tunisia’s next legislative elections. The elections cannot take place, however, until a new constitution is ratified.
Meanwhile in Libya, members of the National Congress reportedly favor the idea of selecting a prime minister from the east and a chairman of congress from the west or south after a series of meetings between independents and members of Libya’s smaller political parties. The meetings, which did not include members from the National Forces Alliance (NFA) or the Muslim Brotherhood, ultimately concluded that a prime minister from the east would help address the east’s concerns of being marginalized in the new government. While not an official decision, it is reported that the idea has traction among most members of congress, including head of the NFA, Mahmoud Jibril. Early favorites for prime minister under this criteria include Electricity Minister Awad Barasi, judge Saad Aghila, and member of congress Salah Ajouda who are all from Benghazi.