THE NEW national unity government in Tunisia won a paarliamentary vote of confidence late on Friday, almost a month after the last government was dismissed. The government, led by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, won by 167 votes to 22, while five abstentions were recorded. Chahed told legislators his government’s top priorities would be winning the battle against terrorism, declaring war on corruption and boosting economic growth. He said his government would carry out far-reaching reforms sought by international lenders in return for continuing to help the fledgling democracy and warned that unless the economy picked up he would be forced to cut state spending next year. Chahed, 41 and a member of President Beji Caid Essebsi’s secularist Nidaa Tounes Party, is originally an agricultural sciences specialist and a university professor. Last week he presented his cabinet line-up, which includes 26 ministers and 14 junior ministers from several political parties as well as independents. The ministers of defence, interior and foreign affairs in the former government have kept their portfolios in the new cabinet. Lamia Zribi, one of eight women in the new government, was nominated to become the finance minister. Tunisia is widely seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab Spring uprisings. But the North African country has seen a string of deadly terrorist attacks over the past years. The violence has taken a toll on tourism, a key source of income for Tunisia. (Dpa/NAN)

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