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POLAND: Potential Election Law Amendments

Wojciech Hermeliński, President of the State Election Committee (PKW) has signaled that potential amendments to the election law may be immediately required. In December 2017, the parliament passed an amendment bill on the election law, which introduced the obligation of installing and operating CCTV in all polling stations around the country. PiS argued that this measure is necessary to avoid elections fraud. According to the PKW and the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data (GIODO), installing CCTV systems would be illegal. GIODO published an official opinion according to which a CCTV system would allow for the identification of voters and later the processing of information for profiling purposes. Secondly, the Inspector points out that this would also be illegal in light of the recent GDPR (RODO) implementation – according to the Polish constitution international laws have supremacy over state law – making the EU regulation unamendable.

According to some constitutional experts, amendments to election law can be made no less than 6 months prior to the upcoming elections. However, exceptions can be made for minor changes. PiS may now come under fire; if this legal matter remains unresolved, some are bound to argue the November 2018 local elections will be invalid. On the other hand, hasty amendments may draw further unwanted media attention to a whole list of minor flaws and inaccuracies in the recent electoral law reform. Still, many experts argued that the electoral reform will be too expensive to implement, including Hermeliński. This situation, therefore, does allow a way out for the ruling party.