Elyes Fakhfakh (center) accepts congratulations from lawmakers at the parliament in Tunis on February 27 after his proposed government won a vote of confidence. (Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Tunisia’s Largest Party No Longer Supports Gov’t of Embattled Fakhfakh

The moderate Islamic Ennahdha party, which, at 54 seats, is the largest in Tunisia’s parliament, has withdrawn support for the government of Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh over alleged conflicts of interest concerning the ownership of shares in companies doing business with the state. Fakhfakh, who says he sold his shares, established a government at the end of February, five months after elections left no single party anywhere near a parliamentary majority. On Tuesday, he announced a cabinet shakeup that observers say was aimed at removing Ennahdha from positions of power. The party needs to find an additional 55 votes in parliament to bring down the government. A judge empowered a panel to look into the allegations against Fakhfakh, who says he will resign if found to have done anything improper. Tunisia is the only country to have come out of the so-called Arab Spring of 2011 with a working democracy, although critics have long expressed concern over a deeply divided electorate and a stubborn economy featuring severe unemployment and high foreign debt.

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