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Tunisian PM Resigns amid Charges of Conflict of Interest

Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh resigned late Wednesday night, hours after the largest party in parliament announced it was withdrawing support for his government. Fakhfakh is being investigated by a judicially appointed panel regarding shares he is said to own or have owned in companies with state contracts. He denies the allegations but promised to step down if found to have been involved in wrongdoing. The panel’s findings are due to be published on Friday. The Reuters news agency cites “political sources” as saying that President Kais Saied had asked him to resign. Saied now has to choose a prime minister-designate who will have to assemble a working coalition of parties for a government. It took Fakhfakh some six weeks to form his own coalition, with Tunisia suffering from deep political divisions and a surfeit of political parties after becoming the only country to emerge from the so-called Arab Spring with a free democratic system. He was the second candidate given a mandate to lead following inconclusive elections in early October, with the first, Habib Jemli, having presented a coalition that failed to win a parliamentary vote of confidence. If the new prime minister-designate fails, the country will have to go to early elections.