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Tunisia parliament votes to oust PM Essid

A picture taken on July 30, 2016 shows a general view of a meeting of the Tunisian parliament in the capital, Tunis. (By AFP)

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid has been voted out of office by the country’s parliament.

Out of the 191 lawmakers present for a no-confidence vote late Saturday, 118 lawmakers voted in favor of the motion against Essid, who had been in office for 18 months.

Only three MPs supported him. Others abstained.

Essid, 67, had told lawmakers before the motion was even passed that he already knew he would be put aside.

“I didn’t come to obtain the 109 votes” needed to remain in power as prime minister, he had told parliamentarians earlier on Saturday.

Essid’s coalition government comprised an amalgam of representatives from prominent parties in the parliament.

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid (R) arrives to deliver a speech at the Tunisian parliament in the capital, Tunis, July 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

He had been under fire by all the parties for what they deemed as his incompetence to resolve economic and political issues in the country.

Talks on choosing his successor are now expected to get underway on August 1.

Analysts say the talks may take months, plunging the country into an even deeper economic abyss. The unemployment rate in Tunisia was 15% in 2015.

In addition to unemployment, Tunisia has been plagued by violence ever since the 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s long-time dictator, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Last year, the Daesh terrorist group, which is active in Iraq, Syria and parts of neighboring Libya, carried out deadly terrorist attacks in Tunisia, killing 59 foreign tourists.

The country has been in a state of emergency since November 2015, when another attack claimed by Daesh on a bus transporting presidential guards killed a dozen people in the capital, Tunis.

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