Following Taoufik Charfeddine’s resignation and a crackdown on prominent opposition figures that has drawn international condemnation, Tunisian President Kais Saied on Friday named Kamal Feki, the former governor of Tunis, as his new interior minister.



After spending more time with his three children 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.
Charfeddine, 54, had been in his position since October 2021. He thanked the president for “his understanding and for allowing me to be relieved of my duties,” he told reporters.

‘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 associate of Saied, has replaced Charfeddine as interior minister.

Charfeddine, a former attorney, played a crucial role in the 2019 election campaign that brought then-unknown candidate Saied to the presidency.

Charfeddine became Saied’s trusted advisor after the latter froze parliament and removed the government in a dramatic move in July 2021, effectively bringing an end to the only functioning democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring protests.

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.
Video of the two men’s meetings in the presidential palace was regularly released by Saied’s office.

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

Charfeddine claimed that the security forces had reacted to the hunger strike of the vice president of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, the largest in parliament before its dissolution by Saied.

“There were fears of acts of terrorism targeting the country’s security and we had to act,” the minister said last year of the arrest of Noureddine Bhiri, a former justice minister.

Charfeddine stood by Saied last month when the president of Tunisia was the target of international condemnation for his rant against illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.
“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 demographic make-up of Tunisia is altered or the state’s institutions are weakened.

Violence against African migrants followed the president’s speech two nights prior, prompting several West African countries to arrange repatriation flights for their terrified nationals.

After Charfeddine labeled as “traitors” the many critics of the president in 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 Tunisia, and that he was using “language of threat and intimidation” to “sow division” among Tunisians.