Tunisia finance minister quits

| July 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

Tunisian Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi has resigned following a disagreement with the policies of the government led by Islamist Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, an official said on Friday.

“I can confirm the resignation, which has been accepted,” Ridha Kazdaghli, an aide to Jebali, told AFP.

In his letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP, Dimassi said he was standing down over differences with the government on its economic, monetary and social policies.

Concretely, Dimassi complained of excessive spending.

“As I tried to maintain a balance in public finances, I became aware that most members of the government were following an electoralist policy that was ballooning government spending,” he said in a statement.

These “excesses” are aimed at “gaining the sympathies of certain social groups ahead of the coming elections,” he said.

The “most serious matter” involved a bill before the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) that proposes to compensate partisans of the ruling Ennahda party, who suffered under former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and the “martyrs” who died in the uprising that unseated him in January 2011.

“The bill would require considerable additional spending, taking into account the significant number of potential beneficiaries,” he added, saying it would be to the “detriment of the (already) difficult economic and financial situation.”

He also pointed to the sacking of central bank governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli and the “arbitrary manner” in which his successor, Chedly Ayari, was appointed this week.

On Tuesday, the NCA appointed Ayari to the job after weeks of heated debate and another stormy session in the interim parliament.

One of few independents in the cabinet, Dimassi was the second to storm out since the formation in December last year of the Islamist-dominated government.

In June, administrative reform minister Mohamed Abbou resigned over obstacles to the fight against corruption.

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