Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed adresses the members of the Parliament before a vote of confidence in his reshuffled government during a parliamentary session in Tunis, Tunisia, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
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Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi strengthened his grip on power late Monday when Parliament approved a Cabinet reshuffle ahead of key elections. Observers say the new Cabinet, which places Essebsi allies in key positions, consolidates the 90-year-old president's hold on the executive, months ahead of Tunisia's first post-revolution municipal polls.Prime Minister Youssef Chahed easily won a confidence vote for his new line-up, backed by lawmakers from his own Nidaa Tounes party and its Islamist ally in government, Ennahdha, which together dominate Parliament.He announced the new line-up last week after talks with Essebsi, who founded secular Nidaa Tunes and later became prime minister before being elected president in the wake of a 2011 revolution that overthrew veteran dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The new Cabinet includes former advisers to the president as ministers of finance and health, while the nominee for the Defense Ministry, Abdelkrim Zbidi, held the same post when Essebsi was prime minister.
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