Tunisian President Saied Fires 57 Judges…
On Wednesday, June 1st, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied fired 57 judges. President Saied fired the judges for alleged acts of corruption, the protection of terrorists, and sexual harassment. Saied made the announcement during an address televised to the Tunisian nation.
He said that he had “given opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself,” leaving him with no choice but to terminate their employment.
The dismissal of the judges was made official by decree on the evening of the same day. The firing of the judicial officers was seen as another ploy by Saied to strengthen his hold on political power in the North African country.
Two of the judges dismissed were considered influential in Tunisian political circles. Youssef Bouzaker was the head of the Supreme Judicial Council before it was dissolved by President Saied in February this year, with the president calling the council a “thing of the past.”
The Supreme Judicial Council was responsible for monitoring judicial independence in Tunisia. The other notable dismissal was Bachir Akremi. Akremi has been accused of having close ties to the Islamist Ennahda party by political activists. Akremi is accused of protecting the Ennahda party by not bringing cases against them.
More Insights on the sacked Judges…
President Saied has been accused of a power grab that can be likened to a ‘soft’ coup d’état. The president dismissed the entire government in July 2021, declaring Tunisia’s 2014 Constitution null and void.
He justified this call by claiming he was not comfortable with the direction Tunisia was heading in as a country. At that time, he received great support from members of the public as well as criticism from other Tunisian politicians.
In a move to further strengthen his grip on power, he disbanded the electoral commission. President Saied has announced the enactment of a new constitution next month, which will be put to a referendum.
The new constitution was drafted by a committee of law and political science experts, with no contribution from any of the political figures or parties of Tunisia. This has been rejected by all political parties and the biggest trade union in the country, the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT).
Tunisia is going through a period of tough economical standing and a public finance crisis. The citizens of the nation are unhappy, with many of them beginning to show displeasure with the unsatisfactory public service delivery, high rates of inflation, and unemployment.
The biggest trade union in the country, UGTT, announced that public sector employees would be holding a demonstration on June 16th. This will be the biggest challenge to President Saied since he took all political control. Critics have criticized Saied for reversing Tunisia’s journey as a democratic nation, labeling him an authoritarian.