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Poland prime minister defends courts legislation

Poland prime minister defends courts legislation”

The ruling party then moved on to legislation that would immediately retire all the judges on the Supreme Court except those designated by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, and would lower the requirements for future judges chosen for the court-a step critics say would allow the ruling party to pack the court with its allies.

The Polish Senate has approved at a late night session a controversial bill on judicial overhaul that will remove Supreme Court judges, local media reported Saturday.

Early on Saturday Poland's senate approved the reform, which gives the government power to select candidates for the court.

Duda now has 21 days to sign the legislation into law.

Thousands of government opponents are gathering in Warsaw, Krakow and other cities across Poland to urge President Andrzej Duda to reject legislation that would give the ruling party control of the Supreme Court and the judiciary.

Saying that the laws "would increase the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland", the Commission urged Poland's leaders to hold off on making any changes and return to talks with the European Union that have been going on since January of 2016.

If the PiS government does not back down, Poland could face fines and even a suspension of its voting rights, although other eurosceptic European Union governments, notably Hungary, are likely to veto strict punishments. Thus, the government wants to get rid of the pathologies in the judicial system of the country.

Her comments appear to refer to warnings from the European Union of sanctions against Poland, including a possibility of stripping Warsaw of its EU voting rights.

Prime Minister Beata Szydlo says the legislation is an internal matter and the government will not bow to any foreign pressure.

The Senate's decision comes less than a month after President Donald Trump delivered a landmark speech to the Polish people in which he praised Poland's "place in a strong and democratic Europe".

Sources close to the Presidential Palace told Reuters news agency that President Andrzej Duda was on holiday on the Baltic coast. Critics concede that the judiciary needs reform, but that the proposed changes are going in the wrong direction.

Tusk, former Polish prime minister, wrote in a statement Thursday that "Subjecting the court to one ruling party in the way that Law and Justice has proposed it will ruin already strained opinion on Poland's democracy".

Duda won election as a Law and Justice member but has left the party in accord with Poland's tradition of a nonpartisan presidency. The government further believes that amendments to the judiciary will make the courts more accountable.

The bill will go to parliament's upper house on Friday, where PiS has an absolute majority.

A senior aide to Duda, Krzysztof Szczerski, said Tusk should instead focus on explaining Poland's stance in Brussels.

While PiS remains broadly popular among many Poles, particularly poorer and older voters from the countryside, there have been widespread protests against the plans.



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