Strasbourg Steps in

In recent months, the European Court of Human Rights has communicated to the Government of the Republic of Poland several important cases concerning changes in the judiciary. Potential Strasbourg judgements may be important in containing further undermining of the independence of the judiciary and may complement measures taken at the European Union level.

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Corona Constitutional #22: Hat Kaczyński sich verrechnet?

An diesem Sonntag wird in Polen ein neuer Präsident gewählt. Offiziell. Die Sache ist nur, dass an diesem Sonntag in Polen kein neuer Präsident gewählt wird. Die Regierung hat keine Wahl organisiert bekommen, will stattdessen vom Obersten Gerichtshof diese Wahl-Nichtwahl für ungültig erklären lassen, dahinter steckt ein elaboriertes politisches Kalkül, das aber im ganz großen Stil schief gehen könnte. Extrem spannende und riskante Zeiten also in Polen, und darüber spricht Max Steinbeis in der heutigen Folge unseres Krisenpodcasts mit einem Mann, der seit vielen Jahren als eine der letzten von der Regierungspartei PiS unabhängigen Institutionen des Staates gegen den Zerfall der Rechtsstaatlichkeit ankämpft, nämlich mit dem Bürgerrechtsbeauftragten ADAM BODNAR, der obendrein auch noch eine Botschaft an das deutsche Bundesverfassungsgericht mitgebracht hat.

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22 Years of Polish Constitution: Of Lessons not Learnt, Opportunities Missed, and Challenges still to be Met

The Polish constitution, unlike the German which will celebrate its 7-O on 23 May of this year, has no big birthday scheduled this year. Nevertheless, the 22. anniversary of the Polish constitution on 2 April offers a good opportunity to ponder about the Constitution’s performance so far, to appreciate its resilience, to celebrate its many achievements and, last but not least, to map out its possible future trajectory.

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Next Stop on the Way to Constitutional Disarray in Poland: Electoral Law Reform

Last Thursday, the Sejm has passed another hugely controversial law that might change the constitutional setup in Poland without changing a letter of the constitution itself. The law claims, according to its title, to „increase the participation of citizens in the process of electing, functioning and controlling certain public bodies“ (doc. 2001). In large parts, it consists of amendments to the Polish Electoral Code (E.C). Its adoption is opposed by the parliamentary opposition, by the electoral administration bodies and by many experts. The enactment of this law would violate the principle of a democratic state ruled by law in three ways.

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Who’s next? On the Future of the Rule of Law in Poland, and why President Duda will not save it

With the latest draft laws about the judiciary, the Law and Justice party (PiS) has crossed yet another line. President Duda’s announcement of a veto appears on first sight to present an obstacle to PiS’ march towards completely unrestricted, unitary state power. In this post, I will examine first what effects the PiS drafts will have on the independence of the judiciary by the hands of PiS and then, whether or not President Duda’s so-called veto holds what it seems to promise.

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For Central Europe’s Illiberal Democracies, the Worst is yet to Come

Next week the Polish parliament will most likely pass a bill sponsored by the ruling Law and Justice party, introducing a total overhaul of the country’s judicial system. The tenures of all judges sitting on the Supreme Court, Poland’s highest judicial instance, will be immediately expired, while their successors will be installed by the justice minister. In other words, the members of the last judicial body standing in the way of Law and Justice eradicating tripartite division of powers and court independence will now be appointed by a politically tainted minister.

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