Polish parliament passes judicial reform despite protests and EU warnings

  • Dominika Jandová
  • 22.7.2017 21:43

The Polish Senate approved a controversial reform to reorganise the Supreme Court on Saturday 22 July, despite protests and criticism from the European Commission. Critics say the reform abolishes the principle of separation of powers.

The legislation amends the way of selecting judges to the Supreme Court, which would, in its current form, allow changing all members of the Court. Poland’s president, advised by the justice minister, gets to decide which of the judges may remain. For the bill to become law, President Andrzej Duda must sign it within 21 days. In several Polish cities, tens of thousands of people continue to protest against these changes. On Thursday 20 July more than 50,000 people have been protesting in the streets of Warsaw, according to opposition figures. Last week, two more laws were adopted to provide MEPs and the justice minister with control over the selection of judges throughout the country's legal system. The European Commission has previously warned to trigger Article 7, which can suspend EU member state's voting rights. However, such a provision must be adopted unanimously by all member states, which is unlikely due to the support that Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, has in the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Further steps will be discussed by the Commission next week.

About author: Dominika Jandová

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