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Polish president appoints acting head of Constitutional Tribunal

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 20.12.2016 12:51
Polish President Andrzej Duda has appointed Julia Przyłębska to serve as the acting head of the country’s Constitutional Tribunal, amid a crisis surrounding the court.
Polish President Andrzej Duda appointed Julia Przyłębska on Tuesday. Photo: Krzysztof Sitkowski / KPRPPolish President Andrzej Duda appointed Julia Przyłębska on Tuesday. Photo: Krzysztof Sitkowski / KPRP

The appointment was announced a day after the term of the previous Tribunal head, Andrzej Rzepliński, ended.

The news was hailed by the conservative niezależna.pl website as marking “the end of the Constitutional Tribunal crisis”.

Meanwhile, Borys Budka, an MP from the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party and a former justice minister, tweeted that the “President is breaking the constitution”, adding that the latter has no provisions allowing an acting head to be appointed.

Przyłębska was nominated by the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in October 2015.

Meanwhile, the PAP news agency reported that Andrzej Wróbel, a judge appointed by the previous government coalition, tendered his resignation on Monday.

His term was set to end in 2020.

His replacement will bring the total number of PiS-appointed judges on the tribunal up to eight, a majority in the 15-member court.

Poland’s PiS party has pushed through sweeping legal and other reforms since coming to power last year. EU institutions and politicians have accused it of eroding democracy, charges which PiS denies.

Law and Justice has argued it is unfair that a constitutional court with a majority of judges appointed under the previous parliament should be able to scupper flagship policies for which PiS secured a mandate in democratic elections.

In a recent opinion, the Venice Commission, an advisory group to rights body the Council of Europe, said a July law on Poland’s highest court “does not meet two essential standards of balance of power in government: the independence of the judiciary and the position of the constitutional court as the final arbiter in constitutional issues.”


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