The leader of the Polish government-party ‘Law and Justice’ rejects ruling by constitutional court as “private standpoint of a group of certain people”.
Former Polish PM and head of the Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński made the comments after the constitutional court had rejected government reforms. He stated that “there was no ruling”, and refused to publish it, as required to make it binding.
The statement comes following new legislation passed by the Polish parliament requiring a quorum of 13 of 15 judges in the constitutional court, up from 9. At the recent ruling only 12 judges were present, which according to the government renders it invalid.
However, the Venice Commission, an advisory body to the European Commission, has sharply criticized the developments in a new report published earlier last week, highlighting that the ruling by 12 judges “has not fallen short of Polish constitutional law.”
The Polish constitutional crisis initially began last November when the Law and Justice party under PM Beata Szydło forced through legislation allowing parliament to annul the appointment of judges to the constitutional tribunal made previously. Opposition groups were quick to criticize the government for infringing on the independence of the judiciary. Since then, Poland has witnessed frequent protests from both proponents and opponents of the government initiatives, with demonstrations in Warsaw often drawing on the support of tens of thousands of concerned citizens.
Since then the developments have caused a multitude of international negative reactions directed towards the government. In December Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, voiced very vocal criticism, claiming that the political events in Poland had “characteristics of a coup”. This comes amid moves by the government under Ms. Szydło to increase controls over news outlets.
The Venice Commission has been tasked with reviewing a recent police law at request of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The woes of the constitutional court will undoubtedly strain EU-Polish relations for years to come.