Saying he would replace most of its members in a move that will entrench his one-man rule and cast doubt on electoral integrity, Tunisia’s president has seized control of the country’s election commission.
Serving in a new seven-member panel with three judges and an information technology specialist, Tunisian President Kais Saied said he would select three of the existing nine members of the electoral commission to stay on, according to a decree released on Friday.
The Supreme Judicial Council, a body he also unilaterally replaced this year in a move seen as undermining the independence of the judiciary, will select the judges.
Elected in 2019 amid public anger against the political class, the former law professor has already dismissed parliament and taken control of the judiciary after assuming executive authority last year and saying he could rule by decree in moves his opponents describe as a coup.
Saied is rewriting the democratic constitution introduced after the 2011 revolution and says he will put it to a referendum in July, stating his actions were both “legal” and “needed to save Tunisia from a crisis.”
With many accusing him of orchestrating a coup against the constitution, the majority of parties in Tunisia reject Saied’s power seizure.