Tunisia is a representative democracy where the president of the country is the head of state while the prime minister who is the president’s appointee is the head of government. The prime minister can create and dissolve ministries except for the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense. He or she can also create and dissolve public institutions and administrative departments, issue governmental decrees with the consultation with relevant ministries, and endorse regulatory orders issued by ministries. The prime minister can also initiate a vote of confidence to the government through the parliament.
Prime Ministers Of Tunisia Since 1969
Bahi Ladgham (1969 - 1970)
Bahi Ladgham was a Tunisian politician who held several positions under President Habib Bourguiba. He was an activist for independence who was appointed the Prime Minister of Tunisia on November 7, 1969. He played a key role in the Franco-Tunisian independence negotiation and also found a solution for the Egyptian-Tunisian dispute. His good relations with foreign leaders played an important role in the Tunisian diplomacy. He consolidated national cohesion and strengthened the economy of Tunisia. Ladgham also served as acting president when President Bourguiba was sick and was admitted in Paris. He resigned from the premier’s position on November 2, 1970, and retired from all his political activities in 1973. Ladgham died in Paris in April 1998.
Hedi Amara Nouira (1970 - 1980)
Hedi Amara Nouira was born into a wealthy family in 1911. He undertook his law studies in France and only returned to Tunisia in 1938 where he immediately got into politics. Before becoming prime minister, he served in several ministerial positions including Finance and Trade. Nouira was appointed the prime minister on November 2, 1970, with a charge to reform the national economy. He served as the Prime Minister of Tunisia for ten years, until April 1980. His tenure was marked by economic recovery and social progress despite the several crises in the country including power struggle and university riots in 1978. He died in January 1993 in La Marsa.
Mohammed Mzali (1980 – 1986)
Mohammed Mzali was a Tunisian politician who served in several ministerial positions including defense, sports, public health, and interior before his appointment as the Prime Minister of Tunisia in April 1980. He was seconded to the premier’s position by the then president’s wife Wassila Bourguiba. He canceled the banning of wearing of hijab in public schools. He also improved the relations between Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. However, he was accused of corruption and enriching himself illegally.
Rachid Sfar (1986 - 1987)
Rachid Sfar was appointed the prime minister of Tunisia in July 1986 to redress the country’s finances. Before becoming prime minister, he served in several ministerial positions including industry, public health, and defense. His appointment to the premier’s position coincided with the period of a weakened economy and depleted foreign reserves. He managed to stabilize the country’s economy by boosting trade and commerce between Tunisia and the European Community. He was a victim of President Bourguiba’s illness who sacked him for appointing one of the government officials when the president himself made the appointment.
The Incumbent Prime Minister
The incumbent premier, Youssef Chahed, was appointed in 2016. He is the second prime minister to be appointed under the new constitution. He succeeded Habib Essid who lost a parliamentary confidence vote in July 2016. Chahed is an Agricultural Economist who taught in France and other countries as a visiting professor. He is a member of the Nidaa Tounes political party.