Resigned Tunisian PM sacks Ennahda ministers, sparking furious reaction
Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh has sacked all of the ministers from the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party from his government after submitting his resignation.
Fakhfakh resigned as Tunisian prime minister on Wednesday but remains in his post in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is voted into office by parliament.
The Ennahda party sponsored a motion of no-confidence in Fakhfakh on Wednesday after a row with the prime minister, who is facing allegations of a conflict of interest after two companies he is believed to have shares in won contracts worth $15 million from the Tunisian state.
Ennahda said on Wednesday that it had begun negotiations to find a new candidate for the prime ministerial position.
A total of six Ennahda ministers were sacked by Fakhfakh. They are Health Minister Abdellatif Mekki,Higher Education Minister Salim Choura, Youth and Sports Minister Ahmed Gaaloul, Housing Minister Moncef Sliti, Local Affairs Minister Lotfi Zitoun, and Information Technology Minister Anouar Maarouf.
The Arabic news website Arabi 21 quoted an “informed source” as saying that Fakhfakh sacked the ministers before he submitted his resignation to Tunisian President Kais Saied, as MPs from Ennahda and other parliamentary groups presented a motion of no confidence.
Ennahda is the biggest party in the Tunisian parliament with 54 MPs out of a total of 217. 105 MPs have signed up to its no-confidence motion, which needs 109 votes in parliament to pass.
On Thursday the party slammed Fakhfakh’s decision to sack its ministers.
A statement from Ennahda said that the prime minister’s move “represented an abuse of institutions and is a hasty reaction, and could harm the interests of citizens as well as the higher interests of the country… especially in the health sector”.
The statement thanked the sacked ministers “for their distinguished performance since they took office, particularly in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”
Fakhfakh has named six new ministers to take the place of the sacked Ennahdha ministers.
Under Chapter 98 of the Tunisian constitution, President Kais Saied must nominate a new prime minister within ten days following consultations with political parties.
Tunisia is currently suffering from a severe economic crisis, exacerbated by coronavirus. Hundreds of people have taken to the streets recently to protest against unemployment and inequality.