Polish president signs contested judicial bill into law

2020-02-04 21:04 update: 2020-02-10, 13:44
Polish President Andrzej Duda . Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Polish President Andrzej Duda . Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday signed a controversial judicial disciplinary bill into law despite protests from the opposition and judicial associations, also defying a critical stance expressed by the European Commission and the Venice Commission.

PAP received the news from Duda's spokesperson, Blazej Spychalski.

The legislation was passed by the lower house, which is dominated by the conservative party Law and Justice (PiS), on December 20, and was then sent to the Senate. The upper house, where the opposition holds a fragile majority, rejected the bill in its entirety, as recommended by the Venice Commission, whose opinion the Senate had sought.

The Venice Commission is a legal consultative body to the Council of Europe.

The European Commission (EC), the EU's executive arm, has expressed concerns that the regulations may infringe upon judicial independence.

The Sejm, which had the final say, ultimately rejected the Senate's move and approved the bill, which then went to the president.

The president recently held consultations with parliamentary groups during which opposition parties urged the head of state to veto the legislation.

Duda has spoken in favour of the legislation on several occasions.

The Polish conservative government, which came into power in late 2015, has been in conflict with the European Commission (EC), the EU's executive arm, over the judiciary reforms that the EC says violate EU values. The EC has triggered the rule of law procedure against Warsaw under Article 7 of the EU treaty. (PAP)