: European Parliament says democracy under threat in Poland
Politics17:32 Apr. 13, 2016

European Parliament says democracy under threat in Poland

Parliamentary resolution voices concern over 'effective paralysis' of Poland's top constitutional court

The European Parliament has declared in a resolution "effective paralysis" of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal endangers the rule of law, democracy and human rights in the country.

The resolution was initiated by the European People's Party (the largest group in the European Parliament) together with the Party of European Socialists. It was backed by several other parties, including the Liberals and Greens. The resolution passed with 513 votes for, 142 against and 30 abstentions.

Ryszard Legutko, MEP from Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, called the resolution "absurd, damaging, non-credible and counter-productive." Stanisław Karczewski of Law and Justice, Speaker of the Senate, added that the European Parliament resolution was a result of the Polish opposition "informing on Poland" to European institutions.

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Janusz Lewandowski, MEP of main Poland's opposition and former ruling Civic Platform party, noted, "most of the MEPs have just said that something bad is happening in Poland and they've said that all of the Poles would have to pay the bills for the mistakes made by the Law and Justice party."

The E.U. has piled on the pressure on Poland's Eurosceptic Law and Justice party for reigning in freedoms of the media and the judiciary in recent months.

The Constitutional Tribunal on March 9 rejected a series of controversial changes to its functions introduced by the Law and Justice Party. The move was aimed to increase the number of judges required to make rulings on the Constitutional Tribunal and change the order in which cases are heard. Critics say the changes have made it difficult for judges to review new legislation, let alone challenge it.

The government refused to recognise court's rejection, effectively putting it in legal limbo.


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