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POLAND: Judiciary Reforms pass through parliamentary committee

The Presidential proposals reforming the judiciary system have passed through the parliamentary committee after tense televised sessions. The bills reforming the National Council of the Judiciary and the Supreme Court have been criticized by many as being unconstitutional. Next week, the bills will undergo a second reading in the parliament. President Duda has warned the ruling party that if amendments are made that return the bills to the original shape – of the bills proposed in July – he will be forced to use the veto again. Some sources have argued that it is still quite possible for Duda to veto his own bills, if the position of the Justice Minister is strengthened. It is likely that further meetings with PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński will take place next week.

For PiS, a lot depends on this reform. While Poles are largely for reforming the judiciary, it opposes the way PiS is doing it now. Moreover, further key reforms – such as the plan to reform the media system – are said to be conditional on whether, and how quickly, the court reforms are signed into law. If the bills pass before the end of the year, it is likely that PiS will proceed with hasty parliamentary works at the end of December. Just like last year, this may trigger public protests. Still, support for the ruling party has rarely dropped significantly as a result of previous protests.