Tunisia's Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh to reshuffle Cabinet

An independent MP published documents last month indicating the prime minister owns shares in companies that had won government deals

Tunisia's Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh tendered his resignation on Wednesday evening. Reuters
Tunisia's Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh tendered his resignation on Wednesday evening. Reuters

Tunisia's Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said on Monday he will conduct a Cabinet reshuffle in the coming days amid a row with the moderate Ennahda party, in what appears to be a step to remove Ennahda ministers in the government.

Ennahda said on Monday that it wanted a new government. The current coalition, it said, had lost credibility due to allegations of conflicts of interest involving Mr Fakhfakh.

An independent MP published documents last month indicating that the prime minister owns shares in companies that had won deals worth $15 million (Dh55m) from the state.

Mr Fakhfakh has denied he did anything improper. He has promised to step down if investigators find wrongdoing.

With Mr Fakhfakh's announced Cabinet reshuffle, Ennahda may find itself out of power for the first time in six years. Ennahda was the main player in most governments after the 2011 revolution that ended the rule of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Uprising.

Unlike the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ennahda avoided attempts by its opponents to isolate it and then shared power with secular competitors in 2014.

Mr Fakhfakh's decision will increase the political conflict in the country, which is experiencing a tense situation in parliament and the government formed only five months ago.

At least five Tunisian parties plan to launch a vote of no confidence in parliamentary speaker Rached Ghannouchi who has been accused of partisan interests.

Mr Fakhfakh strongly criticised Ennahda, saying that Ennahda’s calls breached governmental solidarity and continued to paint a picture of crisis only for its partisan interest.

Ennahda officials were not available to comment.

Coronavirus around the Middle East

Updated: July 14, 2020 03:19 PM

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