Tunisia’s president, Beji Caid Essebsi, has criticised the surprise resignation of the country’s electoral chief just months before it is due to hold its first post-revolution municipal tunielections.
Chafik Sarsar resigned on Tuesday, implying he was no longer able to work “independently and impartially” towards holding “free and transparent elections”.
The president said Sarsar told him he was resigning in a phone call.
“I said ‘yes, I saw it on television …. You could at least have asked me beforehand’,” Essebsi said in a speech in Tunis, with Sarsar in the audience.
“Whatever your reasons, they are not above Tunisia’s greatest problems … We want to put Tunisia’s highest interest before all others,” he said.
Tunisia, which set off the Arab Spring uprisings with its 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been hailed for a relatively smooth democratic transition since the revolution.
Sarsar and the electoral commission he headed were praised for their organisation of legislative and presidential elections in 2014.
He had, in recent months, been pushing hard for the holding of long-awaited municipal polls, which after a series delays were finally set for December 17.