Polish President Vetoes Judicial Reform Bill

The controversial bill triggered massive protests.

On Monday, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced his unexpected decision to veto a bill touted by his own party. The bill was part of a larger pack of judicial reforms that would have given his populist government the power to force out all of the nation’s Supreme Court judges.

While PiS considered the passage a win, the citizens of Poland felt differently. Moreover, the bill prompted large, repeated protests in Warsaw, Poland’s capital, and around the country. In a television appearance in which he announced his decision, Duda had this to say.

“This law would not strengthen the sense of justice”. It is important to note that he did not say vetoing the bill would strengthen justice, only the sense of it. Leading observers to assume that he personally still supports the measure but understands public outcry is too massive to try and proceed.
After the announcement, crowds began to gather outside the presidential palace waving Polish flags and chanting: “we did it” and “thank you!”
Critics, domestic and abroad, had condemned the legislation as a blatant power grab, though the populist party repeatedly insisted that it was simply carrying out needed judicial reform.
Though Parliament has the power to reject the President’s veto, it would require a three-fifths majority. Such a  feat would be impossible for the PiS to achieve without the support of other parties.
The bill was repeatedly described by protesters as the beginning of the end of democracy in the Eastern European country.
Poland was one of the first former communist nations to join the European Union.

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