Pol­ish leader puts brakes on ju­di­cial shakeup

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

WAR­SAW, Poland — Poland’s pres­i­dent un­ex­pect­edly an­nounced Monday that he will veto two bills that would have sharply cur­tailed the in­de­pen­dence of the ju­di­ciary, a vic­tory for peace­ful pro­test­ers who had gath­ered by can­dle­light ev­ery night for more than a week.

The Euro­pean Union crit­i­cized the bills as as­saults on the demo­cratic sys­tem of checks and bal­ances and threat­ened to be­gin pro­ceed­ings soon to strip Poland of its vot­ing rights in the 28-mem­ber bloc. Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda ``made the right de­ci­sion,’’ Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt, the leader of a lib­eral al­liance in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, tweeted. ``But the fight for rule of law in Poland goes on _ we are with the Pol­ish peo­ple!’’

The protests mark one of the most sig­nif­i­cant acts of civic mo­bi­liza­tion since the Sol­i­dar­ity protests led by Lech Walesa in the 1980s, with large num­bers of young Poles at­tend­ing ral­lies daily fear­ing they might lose a fu­ture in a demo­cratic state fully in­te­grated in the West.

Walesa, the No­bel Peace Prize lau­re­ate and former pres­i­dent who helped end com­mu­nism peace­fully in 1989, praised Duda for what he called ``a dif­fi­cult and a coura­geous de­ci­sion.’’

Many Poles fear that a loss of ba­sic demo­cratic rights will change the county into a semi­au­thor­i­tar­ian state, mir­ror­ing con­di­tions in some other places in East­ern Europe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.