In the wake of more than a week of protests, Polish President Andrzej Duda has vetoed legislation that would have given substantial control over the judiciary to the executive branch. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party shepherded the bills through both houses of the legislature late last week. From the CBC:
Duda said that the country’s justice system as it works now is in need of reform, but he said that the changes lawmakers had proposed threaten to create an oppressive system and that the protests of recent days show that the changes would divide society.
He said that there is no tradition in Poland for a prosecutor general to have such large powers and he would not agree to that now.
This is a victory for judicial independence, but it does not end the saga. Poland’s judiciary does need some modernizing, and we should expect some new, less drastic, legislation toward that end in the near future.