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Tunisia president: Decree to dissolve Supreme Judicial Council is ready

A member of the Tunisian security forces stands outside the closed entrance to the headquarters of Tunisia's Supreme Judicial Council (CSM) in the capital Tunis on 6 February 2022. [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

Tunisian President Kais Saied said yesterday that the decree to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council is ready, stressing "it is necessary to take this measure," Anadolu reported.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Bouden, he said that resorting to the council's dissolution became necessary and that he will review the proposal to make amendments if needed.

The measure, he explained, is part of an effort to eliminate corruption within the judiciary and to punish criminals whom he said are protected by the judiciary.

The Supreme Judicial Council is an independent constitutional body whose tasks include ensuring the independence of the judiciary, holding judges accountable and promoting them.

On Sunday, the council issued a statement announcing its rejection of Saied's decision, saying the move was illegal and unconstitutional. Various judicial bodies and political parties also rejected the decision.

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Saied has held nearly total power since 25 July when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority citing a national emergency.

He appointed a prime minister on 29 September and a government has since been formed. Last month, Saied announced that a referendum will be held on 25 July to consider 'constitutional reforms' and elections would follow in December 2022.

The majority of the country's political parties slammed the move as a "coup against the constitution" and the achievements of the 2011 revolution. Critics say Saied's decisions have strengthened the powers of the presidency at the expense of parliament and

the government, and that he aims to transform the country's government into a presidential system.

On more than one occasion, Saied, who began a five-year presidential term in 2019, said that his exceptional decisions are not a coup, but rather measures within the framework of the constitution to protect the state from "imminent danger".

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