Tunisia Ruling Party Suspends PM as Rift Deepens

Tunisia’s ruling party has suspended Prime Minister Youssef Chahed in the latest escalation of a row with the president’s son that has paralysed key decisions on the troubled economy.

The North African country is often portrayed as the lone success story of the Arab Spring of 2011 but more than seven years after the ouster of longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali it is still battling high inflation and unemployment and sometimes violent social unrest.

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Nidaa Tounes announced Chahed’s referral to its disciplinary committee late on Friday after he delivered a stinging attack on infighting within the party that he said was restricting his government’s ability to revive the economy.

“Secondary political conflicts.. have disrupted the work of the government, holding it back and blocking the reform process and the decisions necessary to achieve economic growth,” he said in a televised address to a policy conference.

The ruling party is led by President Beji Caid Essebsi’s son Hafedh, who has been battling to oust the premier for months.

The power struggle previously came to a head in July, when the president himself called on Chahed to resign.

The move received the backing of the powerful UGTT trade union confederation, which opposes the programme of austerity budgets and privatisations of state enterprises championed by the prime minister.

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