Violent protests erupted this month in several towns and cities across Tunisia following tax and price hikes imposed on January 1.
The ‘Economic Reconciliation’ law that grants amnesty to corrupt officials was passed despite stiff opposition and is seen as reneging on graft, the key cause of the 2011 revolution that ousted Ben Ali.
Protesters pressing demands for jobs and a share of the country’s energy wealth forced the closure of two oil and gas pumping stations.
The draft law allows businessmen to reveal stolen funds and repay them. Some estimate that $ 3 billion could be initially returned under the law.
Hundreds of protesters demanding jobs in the southern part of Gafsa blocked the route of President Beji Caid Essebsi visiting to mark the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
“The goal is not revenge,” said its head, Sihem Bensedrine, a former activist who was harassed by the authorities under Ben Ali.
Even before parliament votes to approve the cabinet, 54 parliamentarians from PM Chahed’s own Nidaa Tounes party have threatened to quit.
Tunisia has emerged as a political model for democratic change since its 2011 uprising, but economic reforms demanded by its lenders to tackle high unemployment and frustration among its young have lagged behind.