A politically inexperienced professor of geophysics who implemented World Bank projects at Tunisia’s education ministry has been named the country’s prime minister by President Kais Saied on Wednesday amid a crisis over his seizure of sweeping powers and dire threats to public finances.
Najla Bouden Romdhane is Tunisia’s first woman prime minister.
Women have only rarely held senior political roles in Arab countries.
Speaking in an online video, Saied said her appointment honoured Tunisian women and asked her to propose a cabinet in the coming hours or days “because we have lost a lot of time”.
Since assuming office in 2019, President Kais Saied has been under growing domestic and international pressure to name a government after he dismissed the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority in July in moves his foes call a coup.
Speaking in an online video, Saied said Romdhane’s appointment honoured Tunisian women and asked her to propose a cabinet in the coming hours or days “because we have lost a lot of time”.
The new government should “confront corruption and respond to the demands and dignity of Tunisians in all fields, including health, transport and education”, he added.
Bouden is likely to have less direct power than previous prime ministers under the 2014 constitution.