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Tunisia's president sacks dozens of judges, strengthens grip

FILE- Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a press conference at the start of the second day   -  
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JOHANNA GERON/AFP or licensors


Tunisia’s president sacked 57 judges on Wednesday, accusing them of corruption, protecting “terrorists”, and sexual harassment as he strengthened his grip on the judiciary.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Saied said he had "given opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself."

Last July, critics accused Saied of making a grab for one man-rule after he sacked the government and took hold of executive powers. He was accused of staging a coup after ditching the 2014 constitution, to rule instead of by decree.

On Wednesday night, the judge's dismissal was formalized by decree in the Official Gazette.

Saied conferred on himself sweeping powers last year, measures the president claimed were needed to "save the country from imminent peril" and fight widespread corruption.

Under pressure from Tunisia's allies, who are concerned about democratic backsliding in the country, Saied has laid out a roadmap that foresees organizing a July 25 referendum on political reforms to amend the constitution.

That would be followed by a parliamentary election on Dec. 17.

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