US State Department 'alarmed' by Polish court dispute
PR dla Zagranicy
A spokesman for the US State Department has expressed concerns over the current dispute between the government and the Constitutional Tribunal.
Activists from the Razem (Together) party and NGO the Committee in Defence of Democracy picketed the prime minister's chancellery on Thursday night. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk
The Polish prime minister is refusing to publish a Wednesday ruling by the tribunal that rejects recent amendments to how the court functions, thus preventing the verdict from being binding.
As noted in Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, with three weeks to go before the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, no confirmation has been given that President Barack Obama will meet his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.
“We have expressed that we are alarmed about what is happening as regards the rule of law in Poland,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby told the paper.
“We hope that you can find a solution to the current dispute which is in line with the Polish constitution, maintains a democratic balance and control between the institutions (check and balance), and meets the highest international standards.”
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has claimed that the US's standpoint may be due to "a misunderstanding."
He told the TVN broadcaster that the chairman of the court had himself broken the constitution.
Among other factors, such as the order in which cases should be addressed, the government-backed amendments required 13 out of 15 of the court's judges to be present in rulings, rather than the nine necessary until now.
Only 12 judges participated in the recent session, prompting the Law and Justice government to insist that the ruling is invalid.
However, the court ruled that the amendments would prevent them from operating “reliably and efficiently.”
In parliament, opposition parties have been calling on the prime minister to publish the verdict.
The Venice Commission – an arm of the European Council – is expected to publish a verdict on Friday that is unfavourable to the Polish government. (nh)