New protests planned in Poland over court law

2017-07-22 16:10
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Warsaw — A pro-democracy movement in Poland says that former president and democracy icon Lech Walesa will join a protest they are holding against new legislation that gives politicians significant control of the nation's top court.

Despite mass peaceful protests, the legislation on the Supreme Court was approved by the Senate on Saturday and only requires the approval of President Andrzej Duda to become law. Opponents say it would destroy judicial independence and violate the rule of law.

A new round of street protests is planned by government opponents across Poland later in the day to urge Duda not to sign it.

One of the organising groups, the Committee for the Defence of Democracy, says Walesa will join the protest in his hometown of Gdansk, on the Baltic coast.

The spokesperson for Poland's president says the leader sees flaws in contentious legislation adopted by the Senate that gives politicians significant influence over the nation's top court.

Andrzej Duda's spokesperson, Andrzej Lapinski, stopped short of saying whether the president would reject the bill or seek the opinion of the constitutional court. Duda has 21 days to sign it into law.

The legislation, approved early on Saturday, has drawn condemnation from European Union leaders and has led to major protests across Poland.

Proposed by the populist ruling party, it gives the justice minister and the president the power to appoint and assess Supreme Court judges. Critics say that will kill off judicial independence.

Lapinski said that Duda sees inconsistency between two articles regarding the appointment of the court's head.

Read more on:    poland

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