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Poland's ruling conservatives determined to "fight crony system"

PR dla Zagranicy
Alicja Baczyńska 13.12.2015 19:01
The ongoing conflict over the Constitutional Tribunal is not about defending democracy, but about blocking a major overhaul of Poland, ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) chairman Jarosław Kaczyński said at Sunday's pro-government march.
Law and Justice head Jarosław Kaczyński. Photo: PAP/Jacek TurczykLaw and Justice head Jarosław Kaczyński. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk

Changes will be made to the Constitutional Tribunal so that it "no longer protects the previous crony system," the head of PiS said during the March of Freedom and Solidarity in Warsaw.

The ruling party's leader took the platform twice at the gathering. Turnout figures vary, with the Warsaw city hall putting the total at 15,000 and the police headquarters citing up to a threefold higher number of protesters.

Kaczyński said that the Constitutional Tribunal and its head, Andrzej Rzepliński, first co-authored a new law on the tribunal, only to rule it unconstitutional later.

"Those who came here yesterday said that the crux of the argument is to make sure that the tribunal plays the role vested in it by law − it's a joke," Kaczyński told crowds assembled outside the building of the Constitutional Tribunal, where anti-government protesters had gathered the day before.

Some 50,000 people, according to city hall estimates, demonstrated on Saturday against the ruling Law and Justice party’s recent amendments to the law on the Constitutional Tribunal.

Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk

The opposition has fiercely criticised the ruling conservative party for pushing through the appointment of five judges in the 15-member Constitutional Tribunal in what critics say was a breach of democratic standards. PiS itself says the step, pre-empting a Constitutional court ruling on the matter, overrides unfair appointments of the previous Civic Platform government shortly before ending its term in office.

During the march, head of Law and Justice, which swept to power after the 25 October elections, accused the previous Civic Platform government of failing to enforce nearly 50 rulings delivered by the tribunal. "We want a proper Constitutional Tribunal that will genuinely safeguard the Constitution," he said calling the present tribunal a "stronghold of the existing crony system and all that was wrong" since Poland shed communism in 1989.

Marking the 34th anniversary of the imposition of martial law by the then communist leadership in 1981, Sunday's march was to meant by the organisers to show support for the government and President Andrzej Duda, who was a PiS member before taking office as the head of state. (aba/rk)

Source: IAR, PAP

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