The Tunisian president dissolves the Superior Council of the Judiciary



Tunisian President Kais Saied. Fethi Belaid/Pool via REUTERS//File Photo

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TUNIS, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday dissolved the Superior Council of the Judiciary, the body responsible for the independence of the judiciary, in a move that has raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary and does not fail to irritate its opponents.

Saied’s decision ends months of harsh criticism of the judges. Saied has frequently criticized the judiciary’s delay in rendering decisions in corruption and terrorism cases. He has repeatedly said that he will not allow judges to act as if they were a state, instead of being a function of the state.

Saied called the council a thing of the past, adding that he will issue a temporary executive order to the council. He gave no details of the decree.

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Last July, Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament, a move his opponents called a coup. He was widely criticized after taking power and rejecting dialogue with all political parties.

The Superior Council of the Judiciary is an independent and constitutional institution, created in 2016. Its powers include guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary, disciplining judges and granting them professional promotions.

Last month, Saied revoked all financial privileges for council members.

“In this council, positions and appointments are sold based on loyalties. Their place is not where they sit now, but where the defendants stand,” Saied said in a speech to the ministry. Interior.

On Sunday, parties and organisations, including the powerful UGTT union, will demonstrate to pressure the judiciary to be held to account by those involved in terrorism, on the ninth anniversary of the secular politician’s assassination Chokri Belaid.

Saied supporters are also expected to protest in a second demonstration against the Supreme Judicial Council.

“I tell Tunisians to demonstrate freely. It is your right and our right to dissolve the Superior Council of the Judiciary,” Saied said.

Saied’s endorsement of Sunday’s protests comes even though the government’s decision to ban all protests remains in effect.

Last month, police fired water cannons and beat protesters with sticks to break up an opposition protest against Saied, whose seizure of sweeping powers and declared plans to overhaul the constitution cast doubt on Tunisia’s decade-old democratic system and hampered its quest for an international bailout of public finances.

The president has launched an online public consultation ahead of drafting a new constitution which he says will be put to a referendum. It did not involve the main political or civil society actors in the process.

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Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Leslie Adler and David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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