Tunisian Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine resigns | Politics news

Charfeddine, a close aide of President Kais Saied, has made less public appearances in recent months.

Tunisian 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 draws international ire.

Charfeddine, a close aide to President Kais Saied, said on Friday that he wants to spend more time with his children after the death of his wife Salwa last year.

Charfeddine, 54, who had been in office since October 2021, told reporters he wanted to thank the president “for his understanding and for giving me the opportunity to be relieved of my duties.”

Salwa died in a fire caused by a gas leak in their home in June.

Saied has yet to announce a replacement for Charfeddine, who at one point was considered the closest Tunisian official to the president, but had made less public appearances in recent months.

Saied has taken control of the security forces since July 2021, when he dismissed Hichem Mechichi’s government, shut down parliament and ruled by decree before writing a new constitution approved last year.

Charfeddine had also served as interior minister under Mechichi, who fired him in January 2021 following a breakdown in relations between the president and the prime minister. Saied reappointed him after dismissing Mechichi.

Tunisian authorities have in recent weeks arrested prominent opposition figures who blame Saied for the coup and accused them of conspiring against state security.

The police have also begun to crack down on sub-Saharan Africans who do not have a residence permit. Human rights organizations accuse them of detaining hundreds of people and turning a blind eye to racist attacks.

According to a Facebook post published on February 21, Saied urged security forces and authorities to detain and deport migrants, calling the migration a conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demographics by making it “just an African country” with no connection to the Arab and Islamic world.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights later reported that hundreds of migrants were arrested by police, hundreds were evicted from their homes by landlords, and hundreds more were fired from their jobs.

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