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Poland's Senate Approves Law Giving Politicians Influence Over Judiciary

Poland's Senate Approves Law Giving Politicians Influence Over Judiciary”

He also said he hoped President Andrzej Duda would quickly sign the newly approved reform into law.

Once the bill is signed, the ruling Law and Justice Party, or PiS, will have the ability to force the resignation of all of Poland's top judges and appoint its own members to the Supreme Court.

Critics say the legislation would erode the independence of the courts and defy the principles of the EU. He has adhered to the ruling party line up to now. Opponents say the legislation will destroy judicial independence and violate the rule of law.

After the bill was unveiled last week, thousands of people protested across Poland's major cities in multi-day demonstrations to oppose the measures.

Opposition lawmakers also fiercely contested the bill, resulting in heated arguments in parliament.

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Duda will meet Supreme Court President Malgorzata Gersdorf Monday, suggesting he won't make a decision before then.

If Warsaw's nationalist-minded PiS does not back down, the government could face fines and even a suspension of voting rights, although other eurosceptics in the European Union, notably Hungary, will likely veto strict punishment.

Protester Tadeusz Przybylski, 61, said he opposed the communists decades ago and was back now because the ruling party's moves to control the judiciary have led to a "lack of democracy and justice".

Her comments appear to refer to warnings from the European Union of sanctions against Poland, including a possibility of stripping Warsaw of its EU voting rights. "We will not be intimidated by Polish and foreign defenders of the interests of the elite". The lower house of Parliament gave its approval earlier this week.

The second bill stipulates that from now on the parliament, instead of an independent body, will choose the members of the National Council of the Judiciary, which is meant to protect the independence of the courts.

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In Trump's troubling and odd speech in Poland two weeks ago, the US president said he was honored "to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free". "What is going on with the Polish, but also with the Hungarian and Turkish court systems clearly shows that the rule of law isn't self-evident, and that standing up for it is always relevant", Pikamäe said.

The legislation sailed through the upper house of the parliament with no amendments, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) said. It calls for the dismissal of the court's current judges, except those chosen by the president.

The threat to the independence of the Supreme Court is the latest maneuver by the right-wing party, which gained power in 2015, to bring the judiciary under its control.

In addition to several thousand protesters across Poland, human rights groups and leaders in Europe condemned the recent moves by PiS to consolidate control as anti-democratic.

While PiS remains broadly popular among many Poles, particularly poorer and older voters from the countryside, there have been widespread protests against the plans.

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