What We’re Watching: Boris no-confidence vote looms, Robocop vs Tunisian judges

British PM Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs at the House of Commons on February 02, 2022 in London, England.

Wiktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto

Getting to 54. Boris Johnson is the famous comeback kid of British politics. But he may be running out of options given his myriad scandals. A wave of high-profile resignations and defections within the Conservative Party and the departure of five senior staffers have increased the likelihood that the embattled PM will soon face a no-confidence vote. Tory MPs who’ve soured on Johnson believe they are only a dozen signed letters away from the 54 needed to trigger the process as early as this week. Meanwhile, there’s growing pressure to release an unredacted version of the Gray Report about multiple parties held at 10 Downing Street during COVID lockdowns. If the full report confirms Johnson lied to parliament about attending one of the parties, expect a lot more than 54 votes to give him a pink slip.


Tunisian judicial independence. President Kaïs Saïed has announced plans to dissolve the independent judicial watchdog in Tunisia, the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring as a democracy. Saïed claims the Supreme Judicial Council is biased and corrupt, but opponents say he is going too far this time in a bid to consolidate his power. On Sunday, the streets of Tunis saw rival protests between Saïed supporters and critics. The president — known as “Robocop” for his monotone speech — earlier called a constitutional referendum for July 25, the one-year anniversary of his takeover. Although that intervention was welcomed by many Tunisians tired of corruption and mismanagement, getting rid of independent judges gives fodder to those who resent Saïed’s authoritarian turn.

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