Poland's President Says He Will Veto Controversial Legislation, Defying His Party | WVIA

Poland's President Says He Will Veto Controversial Legislation, Defying His Party

Last Updated by Merrit Kennedy on

In a surprise move, the Polish president says he will veto two controversial measures that critics say would have undermined the independence of the judiciary. Poland has seen days of protests across the country against the legislation.

President Andrzej Duda is a member of the ruling Law and Justice party, and this is the first time he has broken with his right-wing party, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports. In fact, Duda's critics have referred to him as "pen," Soraya adds, because he has signed all previous bills.

"Duda says he agrees with his government that the Polish judiciary needs reforms, but says he has to veto the bills in question because they would create an oppressive system and were dividing Polish society," Soraya tells our Newscast unit. "The bills would fire Poland's Supreme Court judges and in effect, give the ruling party control over judicial appointments."

Duda agreed to sign a third bill, which "gives the justice minister the right to name the heads of Poland's lower courts," according to the BBC.

In his remarks, Duda says that he was impacted by conversations with anti-Communist dissident Zofia Romaszewska, according to The Associated Press. He says she told him: "Mr. President, I lived in a state where the prosecutors general had an unbelievably powerful position and could practically do everything. I would not like to go back to such a state."

Duda's decision comes after urgent pleas from the U.S. and the EU, as The Two-Way reported. The State Department urged all sides "to ensure that any judicial reform does not violate Poland's constitution or international legal obligations and respects the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers."

European Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday that the political crisis had to potential to create "a bleak scenario that could ultimately lead to the marginalisation of Poland in Europe." He called for a political solution, adding that the measures "will ruin the already tarnished public opinion about Polish democracy."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

pbs.pngnpr.pngpbskids.png
listenlive_fulllength.jpg cove_spacer.png
Now Playing on WVIA-FM

        

nprnews5.jpg

Trump Aims To Play Salesman During Davos Economic Forum

President Trump travels to a global summit in Switzerland this week. He'll promote his "America First" policies and...

Ursula K. Le Guin, Whose Novels Plucked Truth From High Fantasy, Dies At 88

The author, best known for works such as the Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness, used her fantastic...

Why Are U.S. Allies Killing Each Other In Syria?

The U.S. partners with both Turkey and the Syrian Kurdish group that the Turkish are attacking.

Investigation Finds Pattern Of Behavior By Former Public Radio Host Garrison Keillor

An investigation by MPR News has learned of a years-long pattern of behavior that left several women who worked for...

healthybites_sidebar2.png reserve3.png

playtimepad_box.png

artscene_header.png