Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has denied any family tie with the prime minister he has just nominated following criticism that the two were related by marriage.

The 90-year-old leader said Youssef Chahed "is not a member of my family."

Sections of the media and opposition members have said a distant family connection between the two men influenced the nomination.

Essebsi told international media representatives Thursday that he decided to change the government because of the country's deteriorating situation.

"If we were to keep following the same path, we were heading into a tunnel," he said.

Chahed was minister for local affairs in the government that fell over the weekend in a no-confidence vote.

His nomination is likely to be approved by parliament. Lawmakers have a month to do so.