(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) By Khaled Jabbar
TUNIS, Nov 7 (KUNA) -- The recent Cabinet reshuffle, which was announced by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Monday, has ended the national unity government in the country and caused a wide controversy among Tunisian politicians, some of whom called it "a coup against the constitution." Chahed's announcement, aired via Tunisian TV, concerned eighteen portfolios; thirteen ministers and five secretaries of state. He said he has reshuffled the Cabinet in accordance with the powers entrusted to him by the Constitution to make government action more efficient, and to prevent the ongoing political crisis in his country from escalating further.
However, the Premier's step was rejected by several Tunisian political powers and senior figures, among whom was President Beji Caid Essebsi.
Spokeswoman for the Presidency Saida Garrach said that President Essebsi does not agree with the approach taken by Chahed regarding the cabinet reshuffle, which he described as "hastily and practicing the fait accompli policy".
Leaders of the Nidaa Tounes movement said at a press conference on Tuesday the Chahed's Cabinet reshuffle is a conspiracy led by Ennahdha Movement to take hold of the government lineup through the Prime Minister, who is only a docile instrument in its hands.
Nidaa Tounes' secretary general Salim Riahi said the Cabinet reshuffle was "conducted hastily" to overshadow events that occurred last Saturday and consisting of an attempt to break into the party's headquarters to impose the policy of fait accompli, "under the instigation of the Prime Minister and the Ennahdha movement." Salim Riahi said reshuffling the government without consultation with the President and before seeking parliament's confidence is an unconstitutional procedure, especially since the reshuffle affected most of the ministerial portfolios.
For his part, Al-Joumhouri Party Secretary-General Issam Chebbi said what happened during the consultations on the reshuffle is contrary to the political traditions in Tunisia.
The new government line-up was limited to the participation of the Ennahdha, Nidaa Tounes and Machrou Tounes movements, the Al-Moubadara party and the new political party which has not yet emerged and that is being prepared in the Government Palace, Chebbi added.
He also noted the national interest requires that the government team be restricted, adding that the new government lineup is made on the basis of the "compromise" which explains the fact that it consists of 40 members.
Furthermore, Popular Front leader Zouheir Hamdi told Tunisian state media on Tuesday that Prime Minister Chahed's reshuffle is part of partisan quotas, favoritism, and the maintenance of interests of influential lobbies in the country and those of foreign powers. (end) ksj.ma