Full 166 Tunisian MPs in the recently elected 217-seat parliament voted ‘yes’ on Thursday, February 5, for Prime Minister Habib Essid’s coalition government that brought together Islamic Ennahda party and secularist Nidaa Tounes, state news agency TAP reported.
Nidaa Tounes won 85 seats in the new parliament, beating the former ruling Islamic party Ennahda that grabbed 69 seats in the general elections held in October 2014. Nidaa Tounes, however, started on a false note when it tried to form a new cabinet excluding Ennahda, which, in turn threatened to boycott any new government.
The new Essid’s cabinet also includes some independents from smaller secular parties like UNL, the left-oriented Popular Front movement and the liberal Afek Tounes party.
The new coalition government faces a challenging social and economic situation, the improvement of which will probably be gradual. The peaceful and smooth election process has lifted spirits in Tunisia as the central bank hopes that local and foreign investor sentiment will gradually recover in the near term.
The stabilising political environment also helped Tunisia successfully close a $1bn ten-year USD-denominated sovereign bond issue that earned a fixed coupon of 5.75%. The bond issue, which was arranged by JP Morgan, Citi and Natixis, lured $4bn in offers from 270 global investors.
The strong investor demand reflects renewed confidence in Tunisia’s medium-term outlook.
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