Tunisian judges have rejected President Kais Saied’s decision to disband the council that oversees them, a move that has raised fears about the independence of the judiciary amid growing concerns over his consolidation of power.
Saied announced he was dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council, one of the few remaining state bodies still able to act independently. The move capped months of sharp criticism of the country’s judiciary, which he has accused of corruption and of being infiltrated by his political enemies.
The Supreme Judicial Council head Youssef Bouzakher said the council’s dissolution was illegal and an attempt to bring judges under presidential instruction.
Later on Sunday, two other judicial organizations condemned the move as unconstitutional. The Young Magistrates Association said it was part of a political purge of the judiciary, while the Judges Association said Saied was trying to amass all powers in his own hands.
In July 2021, Saied suddenly suspended parliament and dismissed the prime minister, the first in a series of moves his critics branded a coup. He later took steps to rule by decree, and he has since said he will rewrite the 2014 democratic constitution before putting it to a public referendum.