Najla Bouden

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Najla Bouden
نجلاء بودن
Bouden in 2021
Prime Minister of Tunisia
In office
11 October 2021 – 1 August 2023
PresidentKais Saied
Preceded byHichem Mechichi
Succeeded byAhmed Hachani
Personal details
Born (1958-06-29) 29 June 1958 (age 65)
Kairouan, Tunisia
Political partyIndependent
SpouseKamel Romdhane
EducationESTP Paris
Mines ParisTech

Najla Bouden, also known as Najla Bouden Romdhane[1] (Tunisian Arabic: نجلاء بودن رمضان, romanized: Najlāʾ Būdan Ramḍān; born 29 June 1958), is a Tunisian geologist and university professor who served as the prime minister of Tunisia from October 2021 to August 2023. She took office on 11 October 2021, making her the first female prime minister both in Tunisia and the Arab world.[2] She previously served in the education ministry in 2011.[3]

Early life[edit]

Bouden was born on 29 June 1958 in Kairouan.

She is an engineer who graduated in 1983 from ESTP Paris,[4] she also holds a doctorate in geology after defending her thesis at the Mines ParisTech in 1987 in earthquake engineering.[5]

Professional career[edit]

She is then an engineer by profession and a professor of higher education at the National Engineering School of Tunis at Tunis El Manar University and Tunisia Polytechnic School at Carthage University, having specialized in geosciences. Her work has focused on seismic hazards, which led her to train many executives of the Tunisian Petroleum Activities Company.[6]

She held also senior roles at the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. In 2011, she was appointed Director General within the Ministry, then in 2015 held a position in the cabinet of Minister Slim Choura.[7]

In September 2016, she was responsible for the $70 million World Bank-funded program "PromEssE" to reform and "modernize" university education in order to help alleviate widespread unemployment among Tunisian graduates, a major social issue in the country.[8]

Political career[edit]

On 29 September 2021, amid the Tunisian political crisis, President Kais Saied announced that he had appointed Najla Bouden to form the country's new government. She then replaced Hichem Mechichi who was dismissed on 25 July 2021.[9]

The first woman to take up this office, her appointment as head of the Tunisian government made her a pioneer in the country, in the Maghreb, as well as in the Arab world. President Saied described the news as "an honor to Tunisia and Tunisian women".[2][10]

On 11 October 2021, she took the oath with the members of her government at the Presidential Palace of Carthage.[11]

On August 1, 2023, Bouden was dismissed from her position and replaced by Ahmed Hachani.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Her father Mohamed Bouden was a professor at the Sadiki College and then headmaster of Lycée Alaoui. Her four brothers and sisters are all scientists.[6]

Bouden is married to the ophthalmologist Kamel Romdhane. The couple has two children.[6]



  • Contribution à l'étude de la fragmentation des massifs rocheux à l'explosif ("Contribution to the study of the fragmentation of rock masses with explosives"), PhD thesis, (1987).[13]
  • Innovative geotechnical engineering. Proceedings of the International conference on geotechnical engineering [eds.], Sfax, Nouha editions, 2008


  1. ^ "Tunisia Names First Woman Prime Minister, Amid Turmoil". Time. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
  2. ^ a b Salem, Mostafa (September 29, 2021). "Tunisia's president appoints woman as prime minister in first for Arab world". CNN. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  3. ^ "Tunisia's president names Bouden first woman PM, asks her to form govt". France 24. 2021-09-29. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  4. ^ "BOUDEN Nejla - N°IESF 278803". Répertoire d'ingénieurs et scientifiques de France. 2022-06-07..
  5. ^ "Contribution à l'étude de la fragmentation des massifs rocheux à l'explosif". 2022-06-07..
  6. ^ a b c Camille Lafrance (2021-10-28). "10 things to know about... Najla Bouden". Jeune Afrique (n° 3106)..
  7. ^ "In Tunisia, Najla Bouden is the first woman to form a government". HuffPost. 2022-06-07..
  8. ^ Mounir, Ghufrance (30 September 2021). "Tunisia appoints first woman prime minister - but not everyone is convinced". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2021-10-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Tunisie : qui est Najla Bouden, la première femme à la tête d'un gouvernement ?". L'express. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  10. ^ Amara, Tarek; Mcdowall, Angus (2021-09-29). "Tunisian leader names new PM with little experience at crisis moment". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-09-29.
  11. ^ Amara, Tarek; Mcdowall, Angus (2021-10-18). "Tunisia unveils new government but with no sign of end to crisis". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  12. ^ "Tunisian president names Ahmed Hachani as prime minister, replacing Bouden | Politics". Devdiscourse. Retrieved 2023-08-02.
  13. ^ Bouden-Romdhane, Nejla (1958-....) (in French). Retrieved 2021-09-30 – via National Library of France.
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Tunisia
Succeeded by