Back
Register for SMS Alerts
or enter your details manually below...
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Password:
Hometown:
Birthday:
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
Existing users
Email
Password
Sorry, we couldn't find those details.
Enter Email
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.

Polish President vetoes controversial judiciary reform after protests

Polish President Andrzej Duda has announced he is vetoing a controversial law to replace Supreme Court judges with government nominees

24 July 2017, 11:09am
In announcing his decision on Monday, Andrzej Duda broke openly for the first time with Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party
In announcing his decision on Monday, Andrzej Duda broke openly for the first time with Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party
Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Monday he will veto two of three bills reforming the country's judiciary system, easing worries that the ruling Law and Justice party will undermine the division of powers.

The proposals have drawn fierce criticism from the EU, and sparked protests across the country, with tens of thousands of Poles taking to the streets to rally against the changes which they fear would undermine the independence of the judiciary.

In a press conference on Monday morning, Mr Duda said that he would veto two of three contentious bills — one which would have forced all members of the Supreme Court to step down, except for those kept on by the president; and a second which would have given parliament control over the National Judicial Council, the body that appoints judges.

"As president I don't feel this law would strengthen a sense of justice," Duda said in a statement broadcast on national television, after days of mass street protests. "I have decided that I will send back to Sejm (lower house of parliament), which means I will veto the bill, on the Supreme Court, as well as the one about the National Council of the Judiciary," Duda said.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party claims that the changes are necessary to overhaul an inefficient system that has not been purged since the collapse of Communism almost three decades ago.

In announcing his decision, Duda broke openly for the first time with Jarosław Kaczyński, the party leader. Duda is closely aligned with the party and has supported its agenda since taking office in 2015.
The legislation in recent days has faced mounting international criticism. The US State Department on Friday urged Poland to “ensure that any judicial reform does not violate Poland’s constitution or international legal obligations and respects the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers”.

The European Commission had also threatened to impose sanctions this week if the reforms were not scrapped. European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, had warned of a "black scenario that could ultimately lead to the marginalisation of Poland in Europe".

"What we had was not a reform, but appropriation of the courts. I congratulate all Poles, this is a great success, really," Katarzyna Lubnauer, head of the parliamentary caucus of the opposition party Nowoczesna.