Tunisia PM sacks foreign, defence ministers weeks after elections

PM Youssef Chahed fires the foreign and defence ministers weeks after presidential and parliamentary elections.

    Tunisia PM sacks foreign, defence ministers weeks after elections
    Chahed dismissed the two ministers after consultation with the newly elected President Kais Saied, a statement from the presidency said [Hassene Dridi/AP]

    Tunisia's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has sacked the country's foreign and defence ministers after consultation with the newly elected President Kais Saied, the presidency said.

    Chahed has appointed Karim Jamoussi, the justice minister, as acting defence minister, and Sabri Bachtobji as acting foreign minister, a statement from the presidency said on Tuesday.

    More:

    Saied was elected president in a landslide on October 13, and was invested last Wednesday as head of state, a role that in Tunisia's political system gives him direct control over foreign and defence policy.

    However, while the president is the most senior directly elected official, most power is held by a governing coalition that requires a parliamentary majority.

    The moderate Islamist Ennahdha, which won more seats than any other party in the October 6 parliamentary election, is preparing for formal negotiations with other parties to appoint a prime minister and a new government.

    With the parliament deeply fractured and Ennahdha holding only 52 of the 217 seats, however, any new governing coalition will require complex and potentially lengthy negotiations.

    If Ennahdha's candidate for prime minister is not able to form a government within two months, Saied can name another candidate who would also have two months to try to build a coalition before new elections would be required.

    Under Tunisia's constitution, the appointment or dismissal of government ministers must be approved by the president.

    SOURCE: News agencies