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Tunisia: After the resignation of Tawfiq Charafeddine Said, he appoints one of his staunchest supporters as Minister of Interior


The headquarters of the Tunisian Ministry of Interior ©/AFP

On Friday, March 17, 2023, President Kais Saied appointed the governor of Tunisia, Kamal al-Fiqi, who is one of his staunch supporters, as the new Minister of the Interior, hours after Tawfiq Sharaf al-Din announced his resignation from the post, amid a campaign of arrests that included prominent opponents that sparked international criticism.

Al-Fiqi this month had refused permission for the opposition Salvation Front to protest, saying that its leaders were involved in conspiring against state security, but the Ministry of the Interior did not confront them and allowed them to reach Habib Bourguiba Street to demonstrate.

Al-Fiqi criticized the opposition several times, saying that it is immoral and has no weight. Charafeddine was considered at some point the closest Tunisian official to the president, but they did not appear together in public much during the past few months.

In statements to reporters for publication in local media, Sharaf El-Din attributed his decision to resign to his need to take care of his family after the death of his wife last year.

Saeed expanded his control over the security forces since July 2021, when he dismissed the government of Hisham al-Mashishi, dissolved parliament, and turned to power by decree, before writing a new constitution that he approved last year.

Charafeddine also served as interior minister in Mechichi’s government, which he dismissed in January 2021 at a time when relations between the president and prime minister deteriorated. Saeed re-appointed Sharaf al-Din after deposing Mechichi and taking control of most of the powers. Over the past few weeks, the Tunisian authorities have arrested prominent opposition figures accusing Said of the coup, and charged them with plotting against state security.

The police also cracked down on African immigrants without residence permits.

Rights groups have accused the police of arresting hundreds of African immigrants and turning a blind eye to racist attacks.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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