With the end of the Francophonie summit and its parallel events, tensions seem to be easing and the activities of the Tunisian government are resuming. The head of government, Najla Bouden, reappeared all smiles, as if to erase the controversies of previous weeks which we do not even know if they really existed as the executive communicates little.
Among the most recent “cases”, we think of the summoning of Nizar Bahloul, media director to answer before the criminal brigade for the content of an article evoking the results of the first year of Najla Bouden at the helm of government action. , which had caused a stir when Tunisia hosted the summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF). The publication in question, although factual, had been the subject of a formal complaint lodged by the Minister of Justice and raised questions about them freedom of expression and of the press.
Tunisia: what you need to know about the head of government Najla Bouden
Beyond this incident, public opinion had already noted that the head of government no longer appeared, as she used to do, since her return from COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, nearly ten days before the summit. of La Francophonie, on November 19.
In Egypt, Najla Bouden had displayed herself alongside the greats of this world on the shores of the Red Sea, leading a delegation of around forty people with the aim of obtaining funds which would enable Tunisia to cope with change. climatic conditions which hit it hard. An approach completely in line with the powers of the Prime Minister.
Too friendly with the Israeli president?
But here we are, certain sequences of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, during which we could see Najla Bouden exchanging smiles and gestures of sympathy with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, as during the family photo taken on November 9, displeased some . In particular to El Chaab and the Workers’ Party, Arab nationalist political formations which thought they saw in these signs of courtesy the signs of a possible beginning of “normalization”.
Unacceptable for these parties, and more generally for Tunisian public opinion, which unfailingly support the Palestinian cause. Result: as soon as she returned to Tunis, Najla Bouden had resumed her activity, but it was no longer relayed by the official media or accompanied by the usual declarations. The pace of talks with President Kaïs Saïed was also less sustained, even though the Head of State received several ministers from his team.
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An impression of sidelining reinforced by the cancellation at the last minute of the planned trip to Paris of a Tunisian delegation – led by the Prime Minister – on the occasion of the Forum on Peace, the November 11th. Two days later, the inauguration of the village of La Francophonie by the Minister of Cultural Affairs, Hayet Ketat, intrigued, again, some no longer hesitating to evoke a disgrace.
Probable cabinet reshuffle
No doubt a hasty analysis, even if it is true that in all probability the legislative elections of December 17, 2022 will be followed by a cabinet reshuffle. As usual, neither the palace nor the Kasbah saw fit to deny or provide any clarification.
These did not finally arrive until November 19 at the opening of the OIF summit. The head of government, this time, was present, without however having more visibility than her counterparts. She even kept a low profile in the wake of President Saïed and appeared at the table of the Tunisian presidential couple during the dinner offered by the OIF on 20 November. Leaked photos also show her in deep discussion with the wife of the Tunisian head of state.
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The next day, she seemed to take over and give visibility to Tunisia’s official presence by participating in a round table on digital technology, then by delivering, on November 21, the closing speech of the Economic Forum which succeeded the Mountain peak. Back in Tunis, Najla Bouden is preparing to hold a council of ministers, the agenda of which she presented to Kaïs Saïed on 22 November.
It also has a busy agenda between now and the end of the year with the preparation of the 2023 finance law and the taking of measures intended to convince the IMF’s board of directors to transform the provisional agreement for the loan requested by Tunisia in final agreement. In the meantime, it will have to take care to prevent popular discontent from becoming a protest movement preventing or tainting them legislative.