Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jebali's Resignation

After failing in his quest to form a technocratic government, Tunisia's Hamadi Jebali resigned, and then declined the nomination of his Ennahda party to return to his position.  This is certainly a government crisis, and if it does not get resolved street protests could push Tunisia in the direction of Egypt, but I think Juan Cole is right about this:
When Jebali found his proposal blocked, he stepped down Tuesday night. In essence, he treated his party’s rejection of his plan as a vote of no confidence. In parliamentary systems, prime ministers have to step down all the time when they lose a vote of no confidence. I see Jebali’s move as positive. He or someone else will have to try to form a government, being nominated by elected president Marzouki for the task.
Actually Jebali is not the first post-revolution prime minister to step down, and while the political crisis is regrettable (and especially the assassination that caused it), the political process is not. Tunisia was ruled by strongmen for most of its post-independence history, but now has leaders who need the support of parliament and of the people. As we see in Belgium or Italy, getting such support is not always straightforward. But that’s politics, and politics of a parliamentary sort are good, and much better than corrupt, oppressive, inflexible strong men.
This isn't quite normal politics, as someone got shot and there are definite fissures within society contributing to a lack of trust in the emerging institutional framework, but one could make too much out of it.



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