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The New Arab Staff

Tunisia's Ennahdha seeks new government as lawmakers urge travel ban on outgoing 'corrupt' prime minister

Fakhfakh resigned last week [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 July, 2020

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Tunisian Prime Minister Elias Fakhfakh is facing calls for a travel ban amid an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption, as Tunisia's Ennahdha seeks to form a new government.
A Tunisian anti-corruption body has urged authorities to freeze the funds and block travel for outgoing Prime Minister Elias Fakhfakh, just days after he resigned from his post.

The Anti-Corruption Commission accused the outgoing prime minister of violating the country's laws, including financial and administrative corruption, conflict of interest, and tax evasion.

Tunisia was plunged into a political crisis this month when the moderate Islamist party Ennahdha withdrew its support from Fakhfakh.

It came after allegations were made against the premier that that he owned shares in companies receiving state contracts worth $15 million.

The political crisis has been accompanied by an economic downturn linked to coronavirus and hundreds of people have protested against unemployment and inequality.

The General Supervisory Authority of Public Authorities in Tunisia confirmed that the audit mission had entrusted it with the Fakhfakh case, which will see the government watchdog verify the allegations against the prime minister, including the illegality of the deals obtained by his company.

Fakhfakh resigned last week after the Ennahdha Party tabled a motion of no confidence in him.

The embattled leader sacked all ministers from the Islamist party before resigning and is continuing as premier in a caretaker capacity.

The Anti-Corruption Commission had previously submitted to the financial court documents related to the declaration of profits and suspicions of conflicts of interest.

The authority said at the time that it had referred the documents related to the declaration of interests and benefits to the republic’s representative at the economic and financial judicial pole.

It added that it had also referred documents and data related to suspicions of conflicts of interest in a public deal - one of which is a company owned by Al-Fakhfakh - to Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi.

Parliament also set up a commission of inquiry into the suspected conflict of interest related to the deals, but has not yet published the results of its work.

Reports on Monday confirmed Ennahdha has started the process of forming a broad parliamentary and political alliance to support a candidate for prime minister.

The head of the parlimantary bloc, Noureddine Al-Behairi, said consultations that include around 130 deputies were ongoing to form a coalition to choose an alternative to Fakhfakh.

Ennahdha came top in the October polls but fell far short of a majority - holding 54 of 217 seats in parliament - and eventually agreed to join a coalition government.

The party initially nominated an independent for premier but he failed to win the support of parliament, leading President Kais Saied to name former finance minister Fakhfakh for the post.

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