TUNISIA’S political crisis deepened as President Kais Saied ordered judges’ salaries cut to take account of strike days after they began a week-long work stoppage in protest at his move to dismiss dozens of them.
Saied, who has progressively sought to tighten his grip on power, last week dismissed 57 judges, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists.
Courtrooms were closed across the country on Monday.
The head of the Tunisian Judges Association, Anas Hamaidi, said 99% of judges observed the first day of the strike, and that the action would continue until Saied reinstated those sacked.
The president assumed executive powers last summer in a move his opponents called a coup, subsequently setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree and dismissing the elected parliament.
The president also replaced the independent electoral commission, casting doubt on the credibility of any elections ahead of a referendum on a new constitution that he has scheduled for July 25.
Saied this year also replaced the Supreme Judicial Council, which had served as the main guarantor of judicial independence since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution that ushered in introduced democratic reforms.