Tunisian judges threaten to strike for a second week over sackings

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FILE PHOTO: Tunisian presidential candidate Kais Saied reacts after exit poll results were announced in a second round runoff of the presidential election in Tunis
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TUNIS (Reuters) -Tunisian judges will extend their strike into a second week if President Kais Saied does not cancel a decree firing dozens of them, the judges' association said on Thursday.

Saied dismissed 57 judges last week, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists, charges that the association said were mostly politically motivated. The strike began on Monday.

Saied this week ordered judges' salaries be cut to take account of strike days after they began the stoppage in protest.

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.

He says his moves are needed to save Tunisia from crisis. He said he is aiming to cleanse the judiciary of rampant corruption and does not aim to control it.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alison Williams)

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