Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party is trying to rewrite history — and it’s hurting Polish relations with the rest of Europe. Read more
Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party is forcing through judicial reforms that the Supreme Court’s president, Małgorzata Gesdorf, has said would “end” the Supreme Court and “break” the Constitution.
The changes are expected to be enacted next week after a parliamentary committee voted for the legislation on Thursday.
During a hearing, lawmakers from the ruling party rejected all amendments from the opposition, refused to hear independent legal counsel and ignored warnings from parliament’s own lawyers, who said the reforms might be unconstitutional.
Grzegorz Schetyna, the leader of the opposition Civic Platform, has called for demonstrations in the streets.
“This is no longer a creeping coup,” he told Polish television. “This coup begins to strike.” Read more
If Poland believes it can make up for its poor relations with neighboring Germany by deepening ties with France, it is making a mistake. Read more
Remi Adekoya explains in Foreign Affairs how Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has been able to remain popular despite truncating democratic norms and institutions and antagonizing the EU:
- It has raised social spending, specifically for poor rural families with children.
- It portrays its domestic opponents as corrupt elites fighting to preserve their influence.
- It portrays its European critics as fanatical multiculturalists and militant secularists who are so obsessed with political correctness they have lost all sense of self-preservation. Read more
Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, has surprised observers by vetoing legislation from his own Law and Justice party that would have defanged the judiciary.
Closer scrutiny suggests Duda’s opposition is less meaningful than it is made out to be, though.
The president has said he will sign the bills if they are amended and Leonid Bershidsky argues at Bloomberg View that his proposed changes don’t deviate from the legislation’s objective: “to put the judiciary, which the party argues has turned into an elitist caste, under more political control.” Read more
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party pushed through more changes to the court system on Wednesday:
- One bill takes power to appoint members to the National Judicial Council, which is responsible for appointing lower-level judges, away from the judiciary itself and gives it to parliament, where Law and Justice has a majority.
- The same law removes fifteen of the 25 judges currently serving on the National Judicial Council.
- A second bill gives the justice minister the power to unilaterally replace court presidents. Read more
The European Union is clamping down on its recalcitrant Central European member states.
The European Commission has opened what is called an infringement procedure against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to take in their share of refugees.
This comes on the heels of several probes into Hungary’s and Poland’s right-wing governments. Read more