Two new judges accepted into Poland's Constitutional Tribunal
PR dla Zagranicy
President of the Constitutional Tribunal Andrzej Rzepliński has included two of the five judges sworn in by President Andrzej Duda, though the Tribunal remains unable to pass judgements due to recent legislation.
President of the Constitutional Tribunal Andrzej Rzepliński (R) and Judge
Sławomira Wronkowska-Jaśkiewicz. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański
Following the inclusion of the two judges the Tribunal now has twelve active judges, out of the theoretical fifteen. However, legislation passed at the end of last month requires there to be at least thirteen judges and a two-thirds majority to make rulings.
The ongoing dispute over the Tribunal began after the election of five new judges by the Civic Platform (PO) controlled parliament in early October. Following a victory in the 25 October general election, Law and Justice (PiS) elected a different five judges in December in their place.
The Constitutional Tribunal found that two of the October judges were elected prematurely, though the other three October judges were elected constitutionally. However, President Duda swore in all five of the December judges and has not sworn in those October judges who were validly elected.
Rzepliński stated that it is a priority for the Tribunal to have the full fifteen judges to allow it to function efficiently, which would require another three judges to be included.
However, there are currently six people who have been elected as judges but not assigned work; the three from October, who have been elected under the constitution but not sworn in by the President, and the remaining three from December who have been sworn in.
Rzepliński added that he does not know in what order the vacancies could be filled, and proposed that all six judges should be gradually included into the Tribunal as the terms of older judges expire.
“These three [October] judges have been elected by parliament. The Tribunal has clearly stated this, as far as it could state it,” Rzepliński commented when asked whether he expected President Duda to eventually swear in the October judges. (sl/nh)