Tunisian President Kais Saied sacks 57 judges over alleged corruption

Saied says a full purge of judiciary is required to remodel country's political system

Tunisian President Kais Saied has issued a decree sacking 57 judges over alleged corruption. Reuters
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Tunisia's President Kais Saied has issued a decree sacking 57 judges over alleged corruption, the latest in a series of measures to consolidate the one-man rule.

“An opportunity after an opportunity was given and a warning after a warning was issued in order for judiciary to purge itself,” Mr Saied said in a video posted on the presidency's Facebook page late on Wednesday.

“We cannot purge the country from corruption and violation of law without a full purge of judiciary."

He accused the judges of intentionally delaying the opening of investigations into corruption cases, financial corruption, bribery, breach of the duty of integrity, and hindering the tracking of those suspected in terrorism cases.

“The situation cannot continue without an end. It is not acceptable today that the courts of justice be void of justice," Mr Saied said.

Last summer, he dismissed the government and seized executive power in a move his rivals called a coup before setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree and dismissing the elected parliament.

He said his moves were needed to save Tunisia from crisis and his intervention initially appeared to have widespread public support after years of economic stagnation, political paralysis and corruption.

Move rejected by parties and UGTT

Mr Saied, who has also replaced the independent electoral commission, has also said he will introduce a new constitution this month that he will put to a referendum next month.

However, nearly all Tunisia's political parties have rejected the move, along with the powerful UGTT labour union.

With Tunisia's economy failing and with public finances in crisis, Mr Saied faces the prospect of growing popular anger over high inflation and unemployment, and declining public services.

The UGTT said this week that public sector workers would go on strike on June 16, posing the biggest direct challenge to Mr Saied's political stance so far.

Updated: June 02, 2022, 6:37 AM