Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party Ennahda decided on Wednesday to withdraw confidence from the government, a senior official in Ennahda told Reuters.
Ennahda, which is headed by parliament Speaker Rached al-Ghannouchi, says Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh has lost credibility due to an alleged conflict of interest.
Ennahda with 54 lawmakers needs 109 votes in parliament to withdraw confidence and will seek support for the motion from its two allies, the Karama and Heart of Tunisia parties.
Fakhfakh said on Monday he will conduct a cabinet reshuffle in the coming days in what appears to be a step to remove Ennahda’s six ministers from the government.
He accused Ennahda of seeking to “mislead the public”, adding that calls to oust him “violate the government solidarity.” He also said Ennahda was shirking its commitments and pledges towards its partners in the government coalition.
But Ennahda’s response came quickly and could make the Fakhfakh cabinet just formed in February the first government not to last six months in the North Africa country.
“We adopted the option to withdraw confidence from the prime minister and mandates the party leader to follow up on the implementation of the decision’”, said Ennahda official Imed Khmiri, according to Reuters.
An independent member of parliament published documents last month indicating that the prime minister owns shares in companies that had won deals worth 44 million dinars ($15 million) from the state.
Fakhfakh has denied he did anything improper or corrupt. He has promised to step down if investigators find wrongdoing.
President Kais Saied has rejected Ennahda’s move against the prime minister, saying if the premier were to resign or an accusation were to be directed against him, then he may call for political consultations.
There can be no exception to these conditions, he stressed.
“I refuse to hold consultations with anyone as long as the situation is legal as it is,” he added after meeting Fakhfakh and head of the Tunisian General Labor Union Noureddine Taboubi on Monday.