Sunday, July 23, 2017

Polish judicial bill sparks dictatorship fears

Jul 24 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Polish judicial bill sparks dictatorship fears 
Warsaw: AFP

Outrage over plans by Poland's governing party to put the Supreme Court and the judicial system under its political control sparked another day of nationwide protests, with some people gathering outside the home of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and accusing him of being a dictator.Democracy icon and former President Lech Walesa urged young Poles to fight to preserve the separation of powers that his Solidarity movement helped to achieve more than a quarter century ago when Poland threw off communist rule. Later, thousands of government opponents gathered in Warsaw, Krakow and other cities to urge President Andrzej Duda to reject the law enacted by Law and Justice, the conservative ruling party . “We are all in danger,“ said Tomasz Gromadka, a 32-year-old play wright. “Because now they are taking the courts, then they will take the media, they will take everything. But we still have the streets. This is our power.“
The European Union said the chang es would mark a dramatic reversal for a country that had been hailed as a model of democratic transition, and move Poland towards authoritarianism. The European Commission has threatened to strip Poland of its EU voting rights. Many of the protesters then moved to the Supreme Court, where people sang John Lennon's “Imagine“ and held up candles.
The party has said the changes were needed to reform a justice system that was never purged of former communists after that system collapsed in 1989. Lawyer Marzena Wojtczak disputed that logic, saying many judges working today had been anti-communist dissidents and others were too young to have been communists. Critics fear the party could use friendly judges to falsify elections. They also fear the courts will prosecute political opponents.

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