Tunisia’s president appoints first woman prime minister in Arab history

Tunisian President Kais Saied has appointed Najla Bouden Romdhan as the first female prime minister in the history of Tunisia and the Arab world as a whole.

President Saied appointed Romdhan two months after he sacked the previous government and seized wide-ranging executive powers.

The Tunisian leader called the appointment “an honour to Tunisia and Tunisian women.”

63-year-old Romdhan served in the ministry of higher education in 2011, according to Tunisia’s privately owned Mosaique FM.

Romdhan will take office at a moment of crisis, with the democratic gains won in the 2011 revolution in doubt and as a major threat looms to public finances, though there are questions about how much power she will have.

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In July, Saied ousted the government and froze the activities of the parliament led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, a move his foes labelled a coup.

Last week he brushed aside much of the constitution, saying he could rule by decree and control the government himself during an emergency period that has no defined endpoint.

Tunisia now faces a rapidly looming crisis in public finances after years of economic stagnation were aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic and political infighting.

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