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Tunisian president, Saied, sacks judges, freezes Parliament, inaugurates temporal Judicial Council

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In Tunisia, President Kais Saied has continued his “revolution” of government institutions in the North African country as he inaugurated a “temporary” council of judges to replace an independent watchdog that he abolished in early February.

Members of the new Tunisian “Temporary Supreme Judicial Council” were sworn in on Monday in a ceremony that took place at the presidential palace in Tunis.

9 of the 21 members of the new judiciary watchdog were directly appointed by the head of state in replacement of magistrates of the High Judicial Council sacked last month. While the others serve by virtue of their existing positions — from which the president now has the power to sack them.

President Kais Saied took the oath of office on October 23, 2019 at the parliament in Tunis. – Saied, a conservative academic with no previous political experience but managed to win the overwhelming support of younger voters.

Saied had for a long time accused judges of the former council of corruption and of blocking inquiries.

“Today, together, we wage a relentless war against the corrupt, those who want to infiltrate the courts, against those who want the State to collapse and people to starve.”

The move comes nearly 4 weeks after the president issued a decree establishing the new body. It had prompted demonstrations in various parts of the country.

The ruling provoked thousands-strong protests in the capital Tunis and stinging criticism from international rights groups.

Rights groups critisized what they called a “political purge of the judiciary” when some Tunisians were pleased. On the international scene, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had urged the President to restore the High Judicial Council.

President Said dismissed the government and froze parliament last July. Civil society still waits for a full return to constitutionality.

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5 parties now part of South Africa’s unity government— ANC

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South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has announced that negotiations with other parties are still underway as the party forms a government with five opposition parties.

The ANC was obliged to form coalitions with other political parties after last month’s election because it was unable to secure a parliamentary majority for the first time since the 1994 election that brought an end to apartheid.

The Democratic Alliance, led by white people and supportive of business, supported ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa in his reelection as president of South Africa’s parliament on Friday. Two smaller parties, the right-wing Patriotic Alliance and the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party, also supported the party.

The ANC said on Monday that GOOD, a smaller party, has also committed to join the unity government agreement. According to an ANC statement, this group holds 273 seats in the National Assembly or 68% of the total.

South Africa’s 400 seats make up its parliament. The IFP has 17 seats, the PA has 9 seats, the DA is the second-largest party with 87 seats, the ANC has 159 seats, and GOOD has one seat. According to the ANC, the unity government would guarantee that all involved parties had representation in government and would reach decisions by consensus.

The ANC stated that the unity government will prioritize land reform, infrastructure development, job creation, fixed capital investment promotion, and quick, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth.

“The president will exercise the prerogative to appoint the cabinet, in consultation with leaders of GNU (government of national unity) parties, adhering to existing protocols on government decision-making and budgeting,” the ANC said, adding it was still in discussions with more parties to join the government.

With 39 seats, the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters party has declared that it will not serve in a government with the Democratic Alliance (DA) or the Freedom Front Plus, two organizations that receive support from the white minority.

The former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe party is likewise not a member of the unity government. With 58 seats in the National Assembly, it has declared that it will join the EFF and the center-left United Democratic Movement in the “Progressive Caucus,” a group of minor opposition parties in parliament.

The unity government will face official resistance from this alliance.

“With populist parties choosing to reject the GNU, and the ANC’s bigger partners in the governing coalition centre-leaning and favouring more liberal economic policies, we think the GNU opens the possibility for more growth-friendly structural reforms and prudent macroeconomic policy choices,” HSBC economist David Faulkner said in a note.

“But the GNU could also face ideological divisions and exacerbate fractures within the ANC, factors that could make establishing a stable policy framework difficult.”

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South Africa: Parliament reelects Cyril Ramaphosa as president

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Julius Malema, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighter, was also put forward for the nation’s presidency, necessitating a vote in parliament to determine the winner.

With a majority of votes in the National Assembly, Chief Justice Ramaphosa was proclaimed president. Julius Malema, the leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, received 44 votes, while Ramaphosa received 283.

The Democratic Alliance party said earlier in the day that it would support Ramaphosa in the election as part of a deal to establish a unity government with the African National Congress.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Out of the 400 seats in the recently elected National Assembly, 246 are held by the ANC and DA.

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