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Thousands of Poles Take To Streets To Protest Judicial Reforms
17 July 2017, 02:00 | Bernard Bryant
Malgorzata Gersdorf said the bill would transform the supreme court into one “attached to the justice ministry”Agencja Gazeta Slawomir Kaminski Reuters
Police estimated the crowd at about 4,500, a number far lower than city hall estimates, which put the number above 10,000.
The noisy crowd in Warsaw chanted "We will defend democracy" as well as slogans against ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Poland's most powerful politician.
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 legislation also envisions that the serving Supreme Court judges would be forced to retire once the new legislation comes into effect.
Economist Leszek Balcerowicz, the architect of Poland's market reforms after the fall of communism in 1989, said the Law and Justice party was leading the country toward a "socialist dictatorship" in which the judiciary would be controlled by politicians and the courts would lose their independence.
Both moves have drawn condemnation from European Union politicians and from Poland's opposition.
(Vatican Radio) Protests are planned after Poland's Parliament rushed through a controversial law that will enable the government to appoint judges without consultation with judicial circles.
Both bill only need to be signed by President Andrzej Duda to become law.
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He said that "far-reaching, radical actions" were required in the judiciary, which he said had not been reformed since communist times.
The judiciary has been a key locus of the political struggle in the first 20 months since PiS came to power. Both laws were passed by the lower house of parliament (the Sejm) on Wednesday.
Europe's pre-eminent human rights organization on Thursday called Poland's vote to give lawmakers the power to control the selection and regulation of judges a "major setback for judicial independence".
PiS is accused of placing party loyalists on another top court, the Constitutional Tribunal, soon after winning the September 2016 election. The judiciary, it contends, is symptomatic of this malaise.
The ruling government argues the changes are necessary because the judiciary system is corrupt and benefits the Polish elite.
About live reported the correspondent of Channel 24 from Warsaw.
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