Despite criticism and protests: Poland will hold the judicial reform

US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert

Poland's president sees flaws in contentious legislation adopted by the Senate that gives politicians significant influence over the nation's Supreme Court, his spokesman said yesterday.

As previously reported, the Polish ruling party "law and Justice" (PiS) changed three of the law on the Supreme court, the National judicial Council and the courts of General jurisdiction.

"Today, where the government has begun to make the activities of Poland's supreme court as well as those of the council managing the courts subject to its own, it is clear that we're looking at a general attempt to limit the independence of Poland's judiciary as a whole", Pikamäe said.

The Polish government has continued to pursue legislation that appears to undermine judicial independence and weaken the rule of law in Poland.

Opinion polls show steady support for Law and Justice, Poland's ruling faction, since the 2015 election.

"Subjugating the courts to the governing party in the way proposed by Law and Justice (PiS) will ruin the already tarnished view of Polish democracy", Timmermans said in the statement. Duda has so far followed the ruling party line.The vote was 55-23 with two abstentions.

If the new regulations come into law, they will force all of the Supreme Court's judges into retirement and give the president powers to choose who to reinstate.


"We urge all sides to ensure that any judicial reform does not violate Poland's constitution or global legal obligations and respects the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers", it said in a statement.

Huge protests were witnessed in Warsaw and cities across Poland against the draft bill as the senate debated it late into the night.

WARSAW-Poland is giving the government sweeping powers over its judiciary, a move that is rattling European Union leaders and US diplomats but hasn't shifted voters much at home.

If Warsaw's nationalist-minded PiS does not back down, the government could face fines and even a suspension of voting rights, although other eurosceptics in the European Union, notably Hungary, will likely veto strict punishment.

Popular protest has again become urgent, government critics say, as opposition lawmakers lack means to impede the Law and Justice party, which controls Parliament. The article allows the union to pursue sanctions against a member state if that country is said to be committing fundamental rights violations. "We will not be intimidated by Polish and foreign defenders of the interests of the elite", Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said in an address on state television. Critics say it kills judicial independence and violates the rule of law.

The bill, passed Thursday by the lower house of parliament, still needs approval from Poland's upper house, the Senate and from Duda, before it takes effect.

The PiS has offered some concessions on demand from the president, but has presented criticism from overseas as unacceptable meddling in the domestic affairs of the country, which overthrew communism in 1989 and joined the European Union in 2004.

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