Amidst an ongoing financial crisis and political instability, Tunisian President Kais Saied went ahead and added a landmark decision to the history of Tunisia. He appointed Najla Bouden Romdhane as the prime minister, making her the first woman to hold that position in Tunisia and the Arab world. This happened two months after he fired the previous government and became the decision-maker, citing the current emergency (the pandemic).
Though there isn’t clarity on how much authority Romdhane will hold, things won’t be easy as she is stepping up in unusual circumstances. She will take office in the middle of a pandemic as well as the subsequent economic crisis in Tunisia.
This July, Saied froze the activities of the parliament led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party. He recently dismissed a huge chunk of the constitution and decided to lead by decree, claiming to be in an emergency period. However, the new government will have to move fast and secure financial support as there is a serious lack of it currently.
While several Tunisian citizens are protesting against such power grab (democracy is important, isn’t it?), Saied claims to have only the best intentions. “We will work on ending corruption and chaos that has taken over the country's institutions...we have wasted a lot of time,” Saied said during his meeting with Romdhane.
The 63-year-old Romdhane had served in the ministry of higher education in the past. Saeid is proud of his decision and said, “This is the first time in the history of Tunisia that a woman has led a government.” He added, “It is an honor to Tunisia and Tunisian women.”