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Tunisia president establishes provisional Supreme Judiciary Council to replace old one

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows Tunisia's President Kais Saied (c) leading a security meeting with members of the army and police forces in Tunis, Tunisia, July 25, 2021.

Tunisia's President Kais Saied has established a provisional Supreme Judiciary Council to replace the previous council, which he recently dissolved through a decree.

The Tunisian presidency announced formation of the interim body on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday, only two days after Saied issued a presidential decree dissolving the old council.

According to Tunisian Presidency's Twitter account, in his decree, Saied "stressed the need for a fair justice system that upholds equality before the law" while reiterating his respect for the independence of the judiciary.

The judicial council had rejected the president's previous decree to dissolve the council, saying the "current structure is the only representative of the judiciary."

Clad in black robes, hundreds of judges and lawyers also protested the decision in the capital Tunis, accusing the president of attacking the country's "democracy" and seeking to reinstate the authoritarianism of former long-time ruler, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Saied has, in turn, accused the council members of loyalty to political factions. He has also blamed them for delaying politically sensitive investigations, including a probe into the assassinations of left-wing activists in 2013.

He has, meanwhile, vowed non-interference in the council's affairs, saying, "I assure everyone in Tunisia and abroad that I will not interfere in the judiciary," pledging that he did not seek to control all the power.

The president rose to power on an anti-corruption mandate in 2019.

Since seizing power, Saied has dissolved the parliament and sacked the government, dismissing several ministers and top officials as part of reforms.


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