Protests Erupt in Poland Against Judicial Reforms

Protests Erupt in Poland Against Judicial Reforms

Protests Erupt in Poland Against Judicial Reforms

The protests organized by the opposition, people came with banners and flags, they are ready for unlimited action.

The police estimated that somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 people protested there, but the Warsaw city hall said the number was above 10,000.

The first bill stipulates that from now on the parliament - which is controlled by the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party - will choose the members of the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), whose role is to protect the independence of courts.

Activists brandished European Union and Polish national flags chanting "shame, shame" and "in defense of the courts" as they descended onto the streets of central Warsaw to rally against the draft bill. Lawmakers from the main parliamentary party, Civic Platform (PO) also attended, as did the smaller opposition centrist party, Modern and representatives of left-wing groups.

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Late on Friday the country's parliament, where the Law and Justice (PiS) party has a majority, passed a bill giving parliament a greater say in appointing judges, which critics say violates the constitutional separation of powers.

The proposed bill stipulates that the current Supreme Court judges will be forced to retire, with the exception of those indicated by the justice minister, who would also be responsible for selecting candidates to succeed the retired judges. Critics of the changes argue the laws will erode the independence of judges and undermine Poland's democracy.

Poland's Senate passed legislation that will give the parliament control over the nomination of judges in the Eastern European country, similar to the United States system.

Both bill only need to be signed by President Andrzej Duda to become law.

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Many argue the party is deliberately attempting to hobble the work of the judiciary and in the meantime run through a series of reforms that strengthen its hold on power, strip away remaining checks and balances - while also simultaneously reorienting the civil service, media, army and education systems.

PiS is accused of placing party loyalists on another top court, the Constitutional Tribunal, soon after winning the September 2016 election.

About live reported the correspondent of Channel 24 from Warsaw.

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