President signs changes to Polish electoral law; opposition furious
PR dla Zagranicy
President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday signed into law contested changes to the country’s electoral law and to rules on how local government functions.
Andrzej DudaBild: prezydent.pl
The legislation ushering in the changes was drafted by Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
The opposition has claimed PiS wants to boost its performance at the ballot box, but Law and Justice has said it aims to make voting more transparent and provide stronger guarantees that elections are fair.
Senior presidential aide Paweł Mucha said on Tuesday that the new rules contain "very many solutions supported" by Duda.
But Mariusz Witczak, a deputy for the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, said Duda would go down in history as a president who had sounded the death knell for free elections.
The new rules change the way in which members of the State Election Commission (PKW), which conducts and oversees elections, are selected. After parliamentary elections scheduled in 2019, seven of the commission’s nine members will be elected by the lower house of parliament, or the Sejm, where PiS currently has a majority.
Until now, the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Administrative Court each delegated three judges to work in the commission.
The new law also limits to two the number of terms that can be served by local government officials such as mayors as of this year's local government elections.