Polish coalition denies president’s veto poses threat
WARSAW: Polish President Andrzej Duda ratified one of three judicial reform bills yesterday, but his veto of two others left the Law and Justice (PiS) party’s reform plan in limbo and triggered questions about the ruling coalition.
Amid signals from one of the PiS’s junior coalition partners that it backed Duda’s position, the PiS deputy speaker of parliament denied the coalition was in jeopardy or an early election might be necessary.
The conservative, nationalist-minded PiS appeared to be rattled on Monday by the veto announcement from Duda, who had appeared closely aligned with PiS. Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said the government would not “yield to pressure from the street and from abroad”.
The law ratified by Duda allows the justice minister to hire and fire senior judges who head ordinary courts, a measure the PiS says is needed to speed up a system seen as slow and redolent of the communist era, and to make the judiciary more accountable to the people.
Critics at home and in the EU accuse the nationalist-minded PiS of trying to politicise the judiciary, pointing to previous moves to increase government control over public media, state prosecutors and the Constitutional Tribunal.
On Monday, after vetoing two bills giving the government more influence over the Supreme Court, Duda appeared to give a nod to the tens of thousands protesting nightly against the plan, saying reforms must not “separate society and state”.