WARSAW, Poland (AP) – The Latest on Poland’s move to give politicians influence over Supreme Court (all times local):
Hungary’s prime minister says his country will use all available legal means to protect Poland from the European Union’s “inquisition campaign.”
Prime Minister Viktor Orban says that the EU is targeting Poland and seeking to weaken individual member states.
Orban spoke a day after Poland’s Senate approved new legislation that gives politicians significant influence over the nation’s Supreme Court. The EU has criticized the legislation and has threatened to impose sanctions on Poland.
Orban said that “at this moment, the main target of the inquisition, the example of national governance to be weakened, destroyed and broken is Poland.”
Orban says the EU leadership is encroaching on EU member states’ rights and trying to apply policies, such as increased immigration, which are opposed by most Europeans.
A pro-democracy movement in Poland says that former president and democracy icon Lech Walesa will join a protest they are holding against new legislation that gives politicians significant control of the nation’s top court.
Despite mass peaceful protests, the legislation on the Supreme Court was approved by the Senate on Saturday and only requires the approval of President Andrzej Duda to become law. Opponents say it would destroy judicial independence and violate the rule of law.
A new round of street protests is planned by government opponents across Poland later in the day to urge Duda not to sign it.
One of the organizing groups, the Committee for the Defense of Democracy, says Walesa will join the protest in his hometown of Gdansk, on the Baltic coast.
The spokesman for Poland’s president says the leader sees flaws in contentious legislation adopted by the Senate that gives politicians significant influence over the nation’s top court.
Andrzej Duda’s spokesman, Andrzej Lapinski, stopped short of saying whether the president would reject the bill or seek the opinion of the constitutional court. Duda has 21 days to sign it into law.
The legislation, approved early Saturday, has drawn condemnation from European Union leaders and has led to major protests across Poland.
Proposed by the populist ruling party, it gives the justice minister and the president the power to appoint and assess Supreme Court judges. Critics say that will kill off judicial independence.
Lapinski said that Duda sees inconsistency between two articles regarding the appointment of the court’s head.