Tunisia’s Ennahda party to withdraw confidence from government

General view of Tunisian parliament on June 25, 2020. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 15 July 2020

Tunisia’s Ennahda party to withdraw confidence from government

  • Ennahda’s move will deepen the political crisis engulfing Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfkah
  • Ennahda with 54 lawmakers needs 109 votes in parliament to withdraw confidence

TUNIS: Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party Ennahda, the biggest party in the parliament, decided on Wednesday to withdraw confidence from the government, a senior official in Ennahda told Reuters.
Ennahda’s move will deepen the political crisis engulfing Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfkah, whom Ennahda says has lost credibility due to an alleged conflict of interest.
Ennahda with 54 lawmakers needs 109 votes in parliament to withdraw confidence and will seek support for the motion from its two allies, the Karama and Heart of Tunisia parties.
Fakhfakh said on Monday he will conduct a cabinet reshuffle in the coming days in what appears to be a step to remove Ennahda’s six ministers from the government.
But Ennahda’s response came quickly and could make the Fakhfkah cabinet just formed in February the first government not to last six months in the North Africa country.
“We adopted the option to withdraw confidence from the prime minister and mandates the party leader to follow up on the implementation of the decision’,” said Ennahda official Imed Khmiri.
An independent member of parliament published documents last month indicating that the prime minister owns shares in companies that had won deals worth 44 million dinars ($15 million) from the state.
Fakhfakh has denied he did anything improper or corrupt. He has promised to step down if investigators find wrongdoing.
Tunisia is struggling to revive its collapsed economy since 2011 revolution that ended the rule of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring.
The government said on Monday it asked four countries to delay debt repayments, as it announced more pessimistic economic and budget forecasts for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The request on debt repayments underscores the dire condition of Tunisia’s public finances, already a source of concern before the coronavirus crisis pummelled the global economy.


Archaeologists unearth 27 coffins buried 2,500 years ago in Egyptian tomb

Updated 22 September 2020

Archaeologists unearth 27 coffins buried 2,500 years ago in Egyptian tomb

  • Egyptian antiquities officials believe the discovery to be the largest of its kind in the region

CAIRO: Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered 27 coffins that were buried more than 2,500 years ago in a pharaonic cemetery.

The sarcophagi were found at the Saqqara site in the governorate of Giza, south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Egyptian antiquities officials believe the discovery to be the largest of its kind in the region. Saqqara was an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Initial studies indicate that the coffins and shrouds inside have remained tightly sealed since burial, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

The discovery was part of an Egyptian dig in the Saqqara area which unearthed an 11-meter-deep well containing colorfully painted wooden coffins stacked on top of each other along with other smaller artefacts.

Khaled Al-Anani, the Egyptian minister of antiquities, postponed announcing the discovery until he could visit the site himself, where he thanked teams for working in difficult conditions.

Ahmed Abdel Aziz, a professor of pharaonic archeology at a private university, said: “This new discovery is not the first in the Saqqara archaeological area. Archaeological discoveries have increased over the past years which draw attention to this region.

“This prompted many archaeological missions from many countries to work in this region, trying to probe the depths of this region and the treasures hidden inside it.”

Al-Anani said the increase in archaeological discoveries and the number of projects recently implemented by the Ministry of Antiquities were down to political will and exceptional support from the Egyptian government.

He pointed out the importance of resuming the work of 300 archaeological missions from 25 countries after a hiatus of a number of years, including some working in Egypt for the first time such as the joint Egyptian Chinese archaeological mission.

There were about 50 Egyptian missions working at sites in governorates throughout the country and Al-Anani praised their efforts in helping to unearth more evidence of ancient Egyptian civilization.

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, said that Saqqara was one of the most promising historical areas when it came to archaeological discoveries, adding that he planned to continue working in the area with his mission members to uncover more secrets and treasures of the past.

He noted that new finds during the current excavation season would have a positive impact on tourism in Egypt at locations such as Giza, Saqqara, Luxor, and Aswan.

Mohamed Abdel Hamid, vice president of the Egyptian Association for Tourism and Archaeological Development, said that the discovery was a testament to the architectural development of the area that could be seen in King Djoser’s collection. The pharaoh was found in a step pyramid which was the first tomb in Egypt to be built using stones.