Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has named a temporary substitute for the country’s top judicial council, which he dissolved last month in a move that his critics say was aimed at consolidating his power.
Last year, Saied seized executive power, and last month, the highest supreme judicial council, which had ensured judicial independence, was disbanded.
The judges who made up the new temporary body took the oath at the president’s palace on Monday.
Saied told them, “We are fighting together against corruption, against those who want to bring down the state. We are in a national liberation battle.”
The president has stated that his broader efforts are just transitory and are necessary to preserve Tunisia from a corrupt and self-serving elite.
The old judicial council, according to Saied, a former constitutional lawyer whose wife is a judge, was acting for political reasons.
After suspending parliament last year and declaring that he could rule by decree, the judiciary was considered as the last remaining institutional check on Saied’s activities.
Saied has the right to protest to any judge’s elevation or nomination, and is in charge of advocating judicial reform, according to a decree issued last month that established the provisional council.
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