Three more ministers have resigned from Tunisia’s interim government following the resignation on 27 February of Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi.

The ministers who have resigned include Regional Development Minister Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, Higher Education Minister Ahmed Brahim and Elyes Jouini, who held the economic reform portfolio.

Ghannouchi resigned following further clashes between protesters and Tunisian police. Protesters saw him as being too close to the regime of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Former Foreign Minister Beji Caid-Essebsi has replaced Ghannouchi as prime minister (MEED 28:2:11). Essebsi will now prepare the interim government for free and fair elections that are due to take place in mid-July. The interim government was formed after Ben Ali was forced to flee the country on 14 January having ruled Tunisia for 23 years.

The series of events that led to Ben Ali’s overthrow started on 17 December when a protester set himself on fire in an attempt to highlight the lack of jobs and economic opportunities in the country.