Just hours after Taoufik Charfeddine resigned as interior minister, Tunisian President Kais Saied named Kamal Feki, the former governor of Tunis, as his replacement. The crackdown of prominent opposition figures has prompted international outrage


After the death of his wife last year, Taoufik Charfeddine, the interior minister of Tunisia and a close aide of President Kais Saied, announced his resignation on Friday so that he could spend more time with his three children.

Charfeddine thanked the president for “his understanding and for allowing me to be relieved of my duties,” he told reporters. Charfeddine had held his position since October 2021.

“It is now time for me to devote myself to this trust she placed in me,” he declared.

Kamal Feki, the governor of Tunis since 2021 and a close confidant of Saied, has replaced Charfeddine as interior minister.

Charfeddine, a former lawyer, played a significant role in the 2019 election campaign that helped propel a relatively unknown candidate named Saied to the presidency.
In a dramatic move in July 2021 against the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings, Saied froze parliament and sacked the then-government, and Charfeddine became an intimate adviser to Saied.
Charfeddine was one of the most vocal supporters of President Saied’s consolidation of power as he pushed through sweeping changes to the political system.
The meetings between the two men in the presidential palace were frequently recorded by Saied’s office and released to the public.

Charfeddine held press conferences to justify the detention of opposition politicians during the wave of arrests that followed Saied’s power grab.

During a hunger strike in protest of his detention, the vice president of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party—the largest in parliament before its dissolution by Saied—claimed that terrorism fears had prompted the security forces to respond.

Former Justice Minister Noureddine Bhiri was arrested last year, with the minister citing “fears of acts of terrorism targeting the country’s security” as the reason.

Saied’s tirade last month against illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa caused an international outcry, and Charfeddine was right there with him.

“There is no question of allowing anyone in an illegal situation to stay in Tunisia,” the president said in one of his videotaped meetings with the minister.

I will not stand by and watch as the state institutions of Tunisia are undermined or the country’s demographic make-up altered.

As a result of the president’s speech two nights prior, violence broke out against African migrants, and several West African countries arranged repatriation flights for their terrified citizens.

After President Charfeddine labeled as “traitors” numerous critics from the private sector, the media, and trade unions on March 8, more than 30 non-governmental organizations in Tunisia demanded an apology from him.

They said he was part of a “dangerous populist discourse that foreshadows a police state,” similar to the one that was toppled in the 2011 uprising in his home country of Tunisia.