A series of proposed judicial reforms have triggered widespread protests in recent days.
A series of proposed judicial reforms have triggered widespread protests in recent days.


Polish President Andrzej Duda said Monday he will veto a bill that would have given his populist government the power to force out all of the nation’s Supreme Court judges.

The controversial bill is part of a package of judicial reforms that was passed by both houses of Polish parliament last week, prompting huge protests in the capital Warsaw and across the country.

“This law would not strengthen the sense of justice” in society, Duda said in a televised declaration Monday, the AFP news agency reported.

Critics condemned the legislation as a blatant power grab by Duda and his right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), which repeatedly insisted that it was simply carrying out needed judicial reform.

Key to the legislation was that current Supreme Court judges would be pushed into early retirement and new judges appointed by the Justice Ministry.

The President’s unexpected decision on Monday comes after both the European Union and US State Department voiced concerns over the bill. The European Union said the bill would erode the judiciary’s independence.

Duda’s announcement came just two days after Parliament’s upper house, the Senate, approved the bill following 16 hours of debate. The vote sparked demonstrations in more than 100 cities across the country. The lower house had voted the measure through on Thursday.

The bill was described by protesters as the beginning of the end of democracy in the Eastern European country, one of the first former communist nations to join the European Union.

A poll conducted by CNN affiliate TVN last week found that 55% of Poles said Duda should veto the court laws; 29% said he should not.

As reported by CNN