Najla Bouden Romdhan: Tunisia becomes the first Arab country to have a woman Prime Minister

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Sep 30, 2021, 05:50 PM IST

Najla Bouden Romdhane is entering the top ranks of Tunisia's political scene in a moment of crisis. Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Two months after seizing power, Tunisia's President Kais Saied named Najla Bouden Romdhane as his prime minister, making her the first woman in the country's history to hold that office.

The Arab world appears to be undergoing some significant changes, notably in terms of women's empowerment. 

Tunisia has become the first Arab country to appoint a female prime minister, with President Kais Saied naming Najla Bouden Romdhane for the top post.

"This is the first time a woman has led a cabinet in Tunisia's history," Saied said during the meeting with Romdhan, which was captured on video from the president's office.

Also read | Women in Arab countries find themselves torn between opportunity and tradition

"To Tunisia and Tunisian women, it is a great honour." 

According to reports, the country’s President, Kais Saied, asked her to form a government with limited executive clout.

She is a professor of geophysics at the National School of Engineers in the capital Tunis. In 2011, she was appointed director-general in charge of quality at the Ministry of Higher Education.

Also read | For the first time, Saudi women stand guard in Mecca during haj

President Saied said the appointment honoured Tunisian women. (AFP Photo)

President Saied said the appointment honoured Tunisian women. (AFP Photo)

On July 25, the President dismissed Hichem Mechichi's administration, halted parliament, lifted MP immunity, and assumed control of the judiciary.

The public opinion on the President's decision was split, with some Tunisians supporting him and others opposing it.

The President’s office released a video of Trump meeting with Bouden in his office and assigning her the task of proposing a cabinet "over the next few hours or days."

As she takes office in a time of crisis, all eyes are on the university lecturer from Kairouan. 

Political scientist Slaheddine Jourchi welcomed the nomination of a female premier but warned that Tunisia faces daunting economic and political challenges.

"When we look at the CV of this lady, who is a geologist without other specialisations or experience in sensitive roles, I don't know how well she will be able to tackle these enormous, complex issues," he said.

(With inputs from agencies)