Tunisian president names Kamal Feki as new interior minister

Tunisia’s Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine has resigned from his post citing family reasons, according to a report by state-run news agency Tap. The announcement came on Friday, with Charfeddine informing Tunisian President Kais Saied of his decision to step down. The President quickly appointed Kamal Feki, the former governor of Tunis, as the new interior minister.

Charfeddine explained to reporters that his decision to resign was based on a desire to take care of his family, particularly his children, after the death of his wife in a fire caused by a gas leak in June of last year. He had held the post since October 2021 and was considered one of the President’s closest aides.

Who is Kamal Feki?

The appointment of Feki, who is known as one of Saied’s staunchest supporters, came just hours after Charfeddine’s resignation. Feki has already refused to grant a protest permit to the opposition Salvation Front coalition, citing their involvement in plotting against state security. However, the Interior Ministry allowed them to protest.

Charfeddine was a key figure in the election campaign that propelled Saied to the presidency in 2019. He had also served as interior minister under former Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, who sacked him in January 2021 due to strained relations between the president and prime minister. However, Saied reappointed Charfeddine after dismissing Mechichi and seizing most powers.

Tunisia’s crackdown

In recent weeks, Tunisian authorities have detained several opposition figures, charging them with conspiring against state security. Police have also carried out a crackdown on African refugees lacking residence permits, leading to accusations of detaining hundreds and turning a blind eye to racist attacks.

Saied has taken increasing control over security forces since July 2021, when he dismissed Mechichi’s government. He shut down the parliament and moved to rule by decree before writing a new constitution that he passed last year.

The president has faced international criticism over his treatment of opposition figures and African refugees. Last month, Charfeddine was present during a video meeting with the president, where Saied expressed his position on illegal refugees from sub-Saharan Africa. “There is no question of allowing anyone in an illegal situation to stay in Tunisia,” Saied said. “I will not allow the institutions of the state to be undermined or the demographic composition of Tunisia to be changed.”

Tags : Kamal Feki