Shift in sway over Polish court advances
WARSAW, Poland — Polish lawmakers voted Thursday to approve a contentious law that gives control of the nation’s Supreme Court to the president instead of judges, sparking protests outside the parliament in Warsaw.
The bill on the Supreme Court has drawn condemnation from the European Union and has led to street protests. Critics say it kills judicial independence and violates the rule of law.
The new law, proposed by the ruling Law and Justice party, gives the nation’s president the power to influence the court’s work and to appoint its judges. It calls for the dismissal of the court’s current judges, except for those chosen by the president. It rearranges the court’s structure and adds a Disciplinary Chamber that would handle breaches of rules or ethics in the justice system.
The vote Thursday in the parliament’s lower house was 235-192 with 23 abstentions. It came after a parliamentary commission summarily rejected 1,300 opposition amendments.
The bill still needs to win approval from the Senate, which will consider the bill at a session today, and from President Andrzej Duda.
Crowds protest Thursday in Warsaw, Poland, urging President Andrzej Duda to reject a bill on court control that was approved by lawmakers.