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Venice Commission warns that democracy in Poland at peril in draft opinion

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 27.02.2016 16:25
The Venice Commission has published a draft opinion on the state of law in Poland, with a warning that democracy might be in peril in the country.
The HQ of the Constitutional Tribunal. Photo. Wikimedia CommonsThe HQ of the Constitutional Tribunal. Photo. Wikimedia Commons

The governing Law and Justice (PiS) party has implemented several changes to the civil service and judiciary since winning the 25 October 2015 general election, giving it a majority in both houses of Polish parliament.

“Democracy cannot be reduced to the rule of the majority; majority rule is limited by the Constitution and by law, primarily in order to safeguard the interests of minorities. Of course, the majority steers the country during a legislative period but it must not subdue the minority; it has an obligation to respect those who lost the last elections,” read the draft report, which was obtained by daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

The Venice Commission was called to Poland by Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski for an opinion on the legal solutions contained in the amendments to the Constitutional Tribunal.

The draft report said that “as long as the situation of constitutional crisis related to the Constitutional Tribunal remains unsettled and as long as the Constitutional Tribunal cannot carry out its work in an efficient manner, not only is the rule of law in danger, but so is democracy and human rights.”

The recommendations of the Venice Commission are not binding. (rg)

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