This blogname was derived from the novel The Secret Life Of Saeed The Pessoptimist by the Palestinian Israeli Emile Habiby: absurdism as weapon against the (ir)realities of daily life in Palestine/Israel. (The subtitle is from a book by Dutch author Renate Rubinstein. It could as well be my motto).
My real name is Martin (Maarten Jan) Hijmans. I've been covering the ME since 1977 and have been a correspondent in Cairo. I started my 'Abu Pessoptimist' blog in January 2009 out of anger during the onslaught in Gaza. The other one, The Pessoptmist, is meant to be a sister version in English. (En voor de Nederlandstaligen: ik wilde in november 2009 een tweede blog in het Engels beginnen en ontdekte te laat dat als je één account hebt, een profiel dan meteen ook voor allebei de blogs geldt. Vandaar dat het nu ineens in het Engels is... So sorry.)
Mehdi Jomaa taking the oath of office as ministry of Industry.The picture was taken on March 13, 2013 when the then new government was sworn in. (Photo: AFP - Fethi Belaid).
Tunisia's political parties chose Industry Minister Mehdi Jomaa
Saturday to head a government of independent figures aimed at pulling
the country out of a months-long crisis, the principal mediator said.
"Dialogue and discussions led to a vote and the choice of Mehdi Jomaa
as the candidate for the post of head of government," said Houcine
Abassi, secretary general of the powerful UGTT trade union.
"Our people have waited for a long time, but despite the difficulties
and obstacles... this dialogue has not failed," he said, adding his
"congratulations to Tunisia."
Of the 21 parties participating in the talks, only the Nidaa Tounes party rejected the choice and abstained in the vote.
According to a deal clinched between Tunisia's main parties in
October, the new premier has 15 days to form his new government of
He also faces the weighty task of organizing elections in 2014.
Jomaa, a relative unknown, is a 51-year-old engineer with no stated political affiliation.