Tunisian PM sacks interior minister, baring tensions with president

The Interior Minister, who is sacked today (Tuesday), is a confidant to President Kais Saied, who has irreparable political differences with the prime minister.

image via Flickr

Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has sent his interior minister packing, triggering tension in the north African country.

The Interior Minister, who is sacked today (Tuesday), is a confidant to President Kais Saied, who has irreparable political differences with the prime minister.

Saied and Mechichi are at odds over the power-sharing formula and their respective political alliances. With the ouster of Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine, the conflict could swell into a crisis that could bring down the technocratic government.

According to a cabinet statement, PM Mechichi would supervise the interior ministry himself on an interim basis till the appointment of Charfeddine’s successor. No reasons were provided for his removal.

The Tunisian PM is expected in the coming days to reshuffle his cabinet following demands from pro-government parties in the legislature to include party members in the government. The president and the opposition parties want a continued technocratic cabinet.

Four months ago, the country’s parliament approved a technocratic government in a confidence vote in a move aimed at ending months of political crisis and focusing on tackling deteriorating economic and social issues the country has been facing since the Arab Spring, and even before.


Initially, Saied proposed Mechichi as the chief executive in the new government. However, Tunisian politicians now believe he subsequently withdrew his support, underscoring brewing tensions between the head of the state and government.

While previous cycles of political tensions in Tunisia focused on the split between Islamists and secularists or over economic restructuring, more recent discord seems rooted in the division of powers between president and parliament.

Tunisia is the only country that managed a peaceful transition to democracy after the “Arab Spring” uprisings that erupted in its small town of Sidi Bouzid in 2011. The uprisings swept the entire region, disrupting various governments, including Egypt, Sudan, Yemen. Syria’s decade-old war was also triggered as a contagious wave of the Arab Spring.

Though Arab Spring provided the much-needed impetus that helped to mobilize people into successful agitation that removed long-time dictators, it barely could translate into peaceful transitions.

Though Tunisia was the only exception as it provided a peaceful transition, the North African country’s economy has been crippled by huge debt and worsening public services, which was further deteriorated by the global coronavirus pandemic.


About Staff Writer

My focus is on politics, history, religion, and philosophy of life. I present news analysis and opinion on current affairs and occasionally produce satire articles

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