Tunisia’s president has appointed a temporary replacement for the country’s top judicial council, a body he dissolved last month in what his opponents called a move to consolidate his power.
President Kais Saied seized executive authority last year and last month broke up the top supreme judicial council which had guaranteed judicial independence.
The judges who made up the new temporary body took the oath at the president’s palace on Monday.
Saied told them, “We are fighting together against the corruption, against those who want to bring down the state. We are in a national liberation battle.”
The president has said his broader actions are temporary and needed to save Tunisia from what he sees as a corrupt, self-serving elite.
Saied, a former constitutional lawyer whose wife is a judge, had accused the former judicial council of acting for political interests.
The judiciary was seen as the last remaining institutional check on Saied’s actions after he suspended parliament last year and said he could rule by decree.
Under a decree that set up the temporary council last month, Saied has the right to object to the promotion or nomination of any judges and is responsible for proposing judicial reforms. The new council has no fixed term.