A forum devoted to current political, economic trends, and news of the Maghreb region.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ministerial Changes in Tunisia

It seems that ministerial re-shuffles are in vogue in the Maghreb these days. After Morocco's partial cabinet changes, Tunisia's Zine al 'Abidine ben 'Ali reshuffled his deck of ministers as he appointed new ministers at the helm of finance, defense and foreign affairs. Ben 'Ali made a total of 11 changes in an attempt to display what som analysts see as a renewed commitment to economic reforms. This is the first major institutional step the five-term president has taken since his October 2009 landslide electoral victory in the presidential elections, winning over 89% of the votes.

I should note that both Interior Minister Rafik Bel Haj Kacem and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi will continue in their current functions, in an indication that the ministerial shuffle is largely a cosmetic shift, and does not really aim at introducing vast effective policy changes or core institutional reforms. How about a shuffling of the constitution, limiting the scope of presidential powers and granting both individual and group rights?

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