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Kaïs Saïed appoints Najla Bouden as head of the Tunisian government




Najla Bouden is the first female Prime Minister in Tunisia (photo: Tunisian Presidency)
Najla Bouden is the first female Prime Minister in Tunisia (photo: Tunisian Presidency)
TUNISIA. After several months of emergency rule and as many questions about his control over the country, the President of the Tunisian Republic appointed Najla Bouden Romdhane to form a government on Wednesday 29 September 2021. She will be appointed "in the next few hours or day", according to a presidential statement. "This is a historic moment, an honour for Tunisia and a tribute to Tunisian women," commented Kaïs Saïed.

Originally from Kairouan (central Tunisia), Najla Bouden is the first woman to hold this position in Tunisia. A civil servant, the sixty-three year old university professor at the National School of Engineers in Tunis (ENIT) holds a doctorate in geology, specialising in seismography, building vulnerability assessment and seismic risk simulation as well as risk awareness and disaster management. She used to lead a plan to implement World Bank programmes at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. From 2006 to 2016, she was a senior advisor to seven ministers.

Restricted functions

Najla Bouden Romdhane wants to form a homogeneous government (photo: Tunisian Presidency)
Najla Bouden Romdhane wants to form a homogeneous government (photo: Tunisian Presidency)
The new head of government does not belong to any party. But had participated in the presidential campaign of Kaïs Saïed in 2019. She says she wants to gather around her a "coherent cabinet to face the economic difficulties" of the country. The President has given her the task of "putting an end to the corruption and chaos that has spread to many state institutions".

Her surprise appointment, two months after the dismissal of her predecessor Hichem Mechichi, has at least the merit of putting an end - on paper at least because the Assembly of People's Representatives cannot yet sit and therefore cannot invest her - to the centralisation of power in the Palace of Carthage. Najla Bouden will not have a free hand. The exceptional measures announced by the Tunisian President on 25 July 2021, extended on 23 August and confirmed on 22 September by decree, restrict her functions. It is, for example, Kaïs Saïed who will chair the Council of Ministers.

Eric Apim


Thursday, September 30th 2021



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