Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh resigns

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Mr Fakhfakh has been accused of profiting from state contracts by rivals

July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

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Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh has presented his resignation to President Kais Saied after the biggest party in his coalition began pushing for a vote of no confidence in the government.

Mr Saied now has a week to nominate a replacement as prime minister, who will have two months to form a new government and pass it through parliament.

On Monday Mr Fakhfakh said he would reshuffle the cabinet in what appeared to be a step to remove the moderate Islamist Ennahda's six ministers from the government to stem the crisis.

But Ennahda’s swift response to call a vote of no confidence and rally support has resulted in his resignation, after the party said the government lost credibility over an alleged conflict of interest surrounding Mr Fakhfakh.

An independent member of parliament published documents last month indicating that the prime minister owned shares in companies that had won deals worth 44 million dinars (Dh57.5m) from the state.

Mr Fakhfakh denied he did anything improper or corrupt and had promised to step down if investigators find any wrongdoing.

“We adopted the option to withdraw confidence from the prime minister and mandated the party leader to follow up on the implementation of the decision,” said Ennahda official Imed Khemiri.

Mr Fakhfakh came into office after a predecessor nominated by Ennahda failed to get the support of the fragmented assembly. He inherited a country where partisan politics have stymied efforts to revive the economy.

Tunisia is struggling to revive its collapsed economy since the 2011 revolution that ended the rule of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab uprisings.

The government said on Monday it asked four countries to delay debt repayments, as it announced more pessimistic economic and budget forecasts for this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The request on debt repayments underscores the dire condition of Tunisia’s public finances, already a source of concern before the coronavirus crisis pummelled the global economy.

Updated: July 15, 2020 08:58 PM

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