Charfeddine, a close associate of President Kais Saied, has made fewer public appearances in recent months.
Tunisia’s interior minister Taoufik Charfeddine says he has resigned for family reasons as the government cracks down on prominent opposition figures and a campaign against sub-Saharan Africans has sparked international anger.
Charfeddine, a close aide to President Kais Saied, told reporters Friday that he wants to spend more time with his children following the death of his wife, Salwa, last year.
Charfeddine, 54, who has held office since October 2021, told reporters he wanted to thank the president for “his understanding and for releasing me from my duties.”
Salwa was killed in June in a fire caused by a gas leak in their home.
Saied has not yet announced a replacement for Charfeddine, who was once seen as the closest Tunisian official to the president, but he had made fewer public appearances in recent months.
Saied has had increasing control over the security forces since July 2021, when he sacked Hichem Mechichi’s government, closed parliament, and started ruling by decree before writing a new constitution that was adopted last year.
Charfeddine also served as interior minister under Mechichi, who sacked him in January 2021 when relations between the president and prime minister broke down. Saied reappointed him after firing Mechichi.
In recent weeks, Tunisian authorities have arrested prominent opposition figures accusing Saied of a coup, and charged them with conspiracy against state security.
Police have also cracked down on sub-Saharan Africans who do not have a residence permit. Human rights groups accuse them of detaining hundreds of people and turning a blind eye to racist attacks.
According to a Feb. 21 Facebook post, Saied called on security forces and authorities to detain and deport immigrants, calling migration a conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demographics by making it “just an African country” with no ties to the Arab and Islamic world.
Police subsequently arrested hundreds of migrants, landlords summarily evicted hundreds of people and hundreds more were fired, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights said.