News from Poland: Poland's constitutional crisis looms larger - EU Observer

16:49 Aug. 13, 2016

Poland's constitutional crisis looms larger - EU Observer

Silent protest against new Constitutional Court law in Poland, Gdansk (Getty Images)

The dispute around Poland's constitutional court has been going on since last year, and is likely to drag on further

Poland's constitutional tribunal ruled, on Thursday (11 August), that a government-sponsored bill, aiming to reform the court in question, is partly unconstitutional.

"Not even a democratically elected parliament has the right to pass regulations conflicting with basic law," judge-rapporteur Andrzej Wrobel announced when presenting the verdict. He added that the Polish constitution of 1997 determines the division of powers in the country and must be respected.

Read also Poland's Constitutional Court Crisis: Duda signs controversial amendments to law

The judges rejected provisions that the court should examine bills in a chronological order rather than by way of importance; that four judges can decide to postpone important verdicts by six months; that the general prosecutor - that is, the minister of justice, after the parliament recently voted to link these two functions - must be present at certain proceedings or the case cannot be heard.

The court also rejected an attempt to stack the court with three judges loyal to the government. These so-called 'doubles' were appointed, by the ruling Law and Justice party, to seats reserved for three judges nominated by the previous parliament - who haven't been able to take up positions, as president Andrzej Duda did not invite them to swear the oath.

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