Tunisian President Kais Saied surprised many on Wednesday with the appointment of 63-year-old professor Najla Bouden Romdhane to a prestigious engineering school as the country’s first female prime minister.
The geologist was named prime minister after the office fell vacant on 25 July when Saeed sealed off parliament and seized executive powers, leaving the country in limbo.
Syed’s office issued a statement ordering Bowden to fill cabinet positions as soon as possible.
The president’s moves sidelined the Islamist party dominating the legislature, prompting critics to condemn his actions as a coup threatening the country’s youth democracy and the democratic gains made after the Tunisia revolution. that helped spark the Arab Spring in early 2010.
The Arab Spring was a sequence of armed, anti-government uprisings and other forms of unrest that spread across much of the Arab world in response to corruption and the economic crisis.
Last week, Saeed suspended most of the constitution, arguing he could rule by decree during an indefinite “extraordinary” period.
In an online video, he said Bouden’s appointment honored Tunisian women and that the transitional government should address corruption and respond to all kinds of civic demands related to health, education and transport.
Bowden may have less power than its predecessors under the 2014 constitution. Saeed declared a state of emergency last week, saying the transitional government would be answerable to the president.
The Associated Press and Reuters provided some information for this report.