TUNISIA’S Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh says he will conduct a cabinet reshuffle in the coming days amid a row with the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, in what appears to be a step to remove Ennahda ministers in the government.
Ennahda said on Monday that it wants a new government, adding that the current coalition had lost credibility due to allegations of conflicts of interest involving Fakhfakh.
An independent member of parliament published documents last month indicating that the prime minister owns shares in companies that had won deals worth 44 million dinars ($15 million) from the state.
Fakhfakh has denied he did anything improper or corrupt. He has promised to step down if investigators find wrongdoing.
With 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 Spring.
Unlike the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which was overthrown by the Egyptian army years ago, Ennahda avoided attempts by its opponents to isolate it and then shared power with secular competitors in 2014.
Fakhfakh’s decision will increase the political conflict in the country, which is experiencing a tense situation in parliament and the government just formed 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.
Fakhfakh strongly criticized Ennahda, saying in statement that Ennahda’s calls violated governmental solidarity and continued to furnish a crisis scene only for its partisan interest.
Ennahda officials were not immediately available to comment. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.