WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington on Thursday accused Tunisia’s President Kais Saied of undermining the country’s democratic institutions after he fired dozens of judges amid a raft of measures that appeared designed to consolidate one-man rule.
Saied, who has also replaced the independent electoral commission and said he will introduce a new constitution this month, accused the judges of corruption and protecting terrorists in a televised address on Wednesday.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the purge was part of “an alarming pattern of steps that have undermined Tunisia’s independent democratic institutions.”
U.S. officials had communicated with their Tunisian counterparts the importance of checks and balances in a democratic system, Price said during a regular press briefing.
“We continue to urge the Tunisian government to pursue an inclusive and transparent reform process with input from civil society and diverse political voices to strengthen the legitimacy of reform efforts,” Price said.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Simon Lewis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)