FILE PHOTO: Tunisia's Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh speaks during a handover ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia February 28, 2020. REUTERS
Tunisia's prime minister Elyes Fakfakh said on Monday he will conduct a cabinet reshuffle in the coming days amid a row with the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, in what appears to be a step to remove Ennahda ministers in the government.
Earlier on Monday, Tunisia's Islamist-inspired Ennahda party, the largest in parliament, called for consultations to appoint a new prime minister, a move opposed by President Kais Saied.
Elyes Fakhfakh was sworn as PM in in February after winning a confidence vote in parliament following four months of post-election deadlock amid tensions with Ennahda.
Fakhfakh is under investigation over alleged failure to hand over control of shares he owns in private companies that have won public contracts.
Ennahda consultative council asked party leader Rached Ghannouchi "to carry out consultations... on a change of government", council president Abdelkarim Harouni said.
"The economic and social situation is very serious and can only be overcome by a government whose head is not suspected of any conflict of interest," he told a news conference.
"Ennahda does not allow any suspicion of corruption to prevail in the government," Harouni said.
Relations between Ennahda and Fakhfakh have been strained ever since the October legislative elections.
President Saied rejected Ennahda's call for consultations to go ahead.
"There will be no consultations so long as the prime minister remains in power," his office said in a statement after a meeting with the premier.