Pol­ish coali­tion de­nies pres­i­dent’s veto poses threat

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

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”.


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