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In summer 2016, President Beji Caid Essebsi oversaw a process to produce a "government of national unity" that would, it was hoped, stabilize Tunisia. This process was formalized in July 2016 through the Carthage Agreement. On Aug. 27, Chahed's new "national unity" government, consisting of 26 ministers and 14 state secretaries, was endorsed in a parliamentary vote by 86 percent of Tunisia's delegates.Though the previous government had a parliamentary majority that allowed it to implement wide-ranging reforms, it still opted to create this national unity government, a specific form of power sharing primarily between Nidaa Tounes and Ennahda, the two biggest parliamentary parties. The Carthage Agreement was the culmination of a series of meetings that have occurred between representatives of these two parties since August 2013, indicating that the model of elite compromise is a significant element in Tunisia's post-2011 transformation. The agreement extended the format to other political parties – including the four parties in the coalition government (Nidaa Tounes, Ennahda, Afek Tounes and the Free Patriotic Union) and five opposition parties (Machrou Tounes, Al-Moubadara, Al-Joumhouri, Al-Massar and the People's Movement) – and three civil society groups – the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Union for Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fishery (UTAP).Certainly, the format of the Carthage Agreement has helped manage Tunisia's critical political predicament. Even though the signatories to the Carthage Agreement represent a significant majority of the seats won in the 2014 parliamentary elections, the nine parties in its coalition represent just 32 percent of Tunisia's eligible voters.Implicit in the Carthage Agreement is the aim of ensuring that Tunisia's post-2011 transitional process ameliorates social inequality in the spirit of "national unity".
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