Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Polish Coup

No joke:

"Poland’s president vetoes 2 proposed laws limiting courts’ independence" by Rick Lyman New York Times   July 24, 2017

WARSAW — Poles denouncing the laws as a retreat from democratic norms had taken to the streets by the tens of thousands.

Nonetheless, President Andrzej Duda’s decision was unexpected. Until now, the president has been a steadfast ally of the government, though there have been rumors of a rift between Duda and the party’s leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

When his brother was president the country was, as now, anti-EU and very nationalist, and soon after he was killed in a plane crash and Tusk (who is now EU president) took over.

What was unclear Monday was whether the Law and Justice Party would take the issue off the front burner, at least for the moment, or whether the veto exposed a rift between Duda and Kaczynski.

Ruling party officials seemed genuinely upset with the vetoes. Kaczynski will “never forgive” the president, said Mariusz Witczak, a member of Parliament with Civil Platform, the leading opposition party. Other opposition leaders agreed.

“I believe this is the beginning of a conflict within the ruling camp,” said Krzysztof Gawkowski, secretary-general of the Democratic Left Alliance, a small opposition party.....



"Thousands in Poland protest government moves on judiciary" Associated Press  July 16, 2017

WARSAW — Thousands of government opponents gathered in Warsaw and other cities in Poland on Sunday to protest the latest changes in legislation that reorganized the judiciary.

The legislation that was adopted last week has drawn condemnation from European Union politicians and from Poland’s opposition. They say it violates judicial independence and the rule of law.

The protests, held under the slogan of ‘‘In the defense of the courts,’’ were the latest in a string of mass antigovernment demonstrations that have characterized the conservative, populist Law and Justice party’s 20 months in power.

Their main theme has been the defense of democracy under the ruling party, which controls both houses of Parliament. The fractured and weak opposition has posed little threat to the government, other than participating in the protests.

The noisy crowd in Warsaw was chanting ‘‘We will defend democracy’’ and slogans against the ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Poland’s most powerful politician, whom they called a ‘‘dictator.’’

‘‘We, the citizens, are defending the rule of law; we are on the side of the law,’’ said one of the protest leaders, Wladyslaw Frasyniuk, a top prodemocracy activist in the 1980s.

Poland was a place of rendition when the GWOT started.

The main opposition party’s leader and a former foreign minister, Grzegorz Schetyna, warned that the ruling party may use the new regulations to manipulate electoral returns.

Under the new legislation, lawmakers appoint members of the National Council of the Judiciary, which draws up and enforces ethical guidelines for judges, reviews judicial candidates, and seeks opinions on new rules and regulations to ensure they are constitutional.



Poles protest for 8th day over contentious judicial changes

"Protesters in Warsaw on Thursday kicked the metal barriers that separate them from the parliament building, chanting, ‘‘Shame!’’

Got what they wanted.

"President Andrzej Duda is expected to sign new laws passed Saturday by the Parliament giving the conservative ruling party more control over the courts. But protesters hope they can dissuade him, with more demonstrations planned over the weekend. Democracy icon and former president Lech Walesa has joined the protests. Duda, who is closely aligned with the ruling party, agreed to meet with the chief of the Supreme Court before acting (AP)."

Lech Walesa up on his feet again, huh?


Polish president signs 1 of 3 contested laws on judiciary

The European Union had expressed concern over the package of legislation and threatened to act soon to sanction Poland.

Won't that just encourage them to Polexit? Or does the old jokey stereotype still hold?

Also see: 

"Poles protest EU comments and govt moves against top court" Associated Press  July 26, 2017

WARSAW — The European Union’s executive commission remains open to triggering sanctions against Poland for limiting judicial independence, despite the Polish president’s veto of parts of a controversial legal overhaul, a top EU official said Wednesday.

The statement drew a protest in Warsaw from a few dozen right-wingers who support the EU-skeptic government’s view that overhauling the justice system is an internal Polish matter.

At the same time, 200 other protesters were showing their displeasure with the conservative government’s policies, especially with the legal overhaul. In recent days, tens of thousands of Poles have been protesting government moves against the judiciary — actions that have also drawn EU criticism.

‘‘Some things have changed and some things have not,’’ European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said at a news conference.

Timmermans said the commission was giving Poland one month to resolve the problems with the judicial changes approved by Poland’s Parliament. It was not clear what the repercussions would be if Poland fails to do so in that timeline.