Tunisia’s parliament gathered on Saturday for a vote of confidence that could see Prime Minister Habib Essid unseated after just a year and a half in office. Essid’s government has been widely criticised for failing to tackle the country’s economic crisis, high unemployment and a series of jihadist attacks. “I’m quite aware that the vote will be against me,” Essid, 67, told parliament ahead of the planned vote. “I didn’t come to obtain the 109 votes (needed to remain in office). I came to expose things to the people and to members of parliament,” he said. Voting is expected to take place at around 2300 GMT following several hours of speeches by MPs and a response by Essid, said the president of the assembly, Mohamed Ennaceur.
Essid has been under growing pressure since President Beji Caid Essebsi appeared on local television in June to slam the administration and propose creating a new government of national unity.
The premier said he would be ready to resign “if the country’s interest demanded it”, but has said he refused to leave under pressure without a vote of confidence.
If Essid loses the vote, Essebsi would be required to choose the “most suitable person” to form a new government. Several parties, including the four that make up Essid’s coalition, have said they will vote to oust him.