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Constitutional Tribunal is political tool: party leader

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 10.08.2016 16:01
Poland's Constitutional Tribunal is a political body whose function is undefined, Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, said on Wednesday.
The HQ of the Constitutional Tribunal. Photo. Wikimedia CommonsThe HQ of the Constitutional Tribunal. Photo. Wikimedia Commons

He added that measures need to be adopted under which the tribunal will ultimately "have to fall in line with” the constitution.

“I say this with great pain, but it must be said that today the tribunal is a political body whose constitutional function is undefined, since it is difficult to explain what it is doing in constitutional terms,” the PiS leader told a press conference on Wednesday.

He added that a new legal framework is being prepared, which will be based on the findings of an expert committee appointed by parliamentary Speaker Marek Kuchciński.

“We cannot have a situation whereby the Tribunal, through its own fault – and especially through the fault of of its head [judge Andrzej Rzepliński] – has not functioned. We need to find solutions which ultimately mean that the Constitutional Tribunal will have to fall in line with the constitution, and begin to work,” Kaczyński said.

In late July, the European Commission urged Poland to respect rulings by the country's Constitutional Tribunal, issuing a set of recommendations and giving Warsaw three months to comply.

The commission’s recommendations mark the second stage of a "rule-of-law" probe launched into Poland in January. The process could in theory eventually lead to the EU imposing penalties on Warsaw, but any such move would have to be backed unanimously by EU member states.

The commission said in July it believed that there is “a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland.”

Poland has been locked in a political stalemate after Law and Justice, which came to power in October, introduced sweeping reforms to the Constitutional Tribunal and other institutions, prompting anti-government protests and criticism from abroad. (rg)

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