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Poland's President to Veto 2 Controversial Bills on Judiciary

By VOA News July 24, 2017

Poland's president says he is vetoing two of three bills recently passed by lawmakers to reform the country's judicial system.

Andrzej Duda announced his decision on television Monday, days after mass street protests.

"I have decided to send back to parliament, which means I will veto, the law on the Supreme Court, as well as the one about the National Council of the Judiciary," he said.

Both bills are generally seen as challenges to the independence of the judicial system and are part of a legal overhaul, planned by the ruling Law and Justice Party.

The third bill reorganizes the functioning of local courts and Duda said he would sign it.

The bill on the Supreme Court would have put the judiciary under the political control of the ruling party, with the justice minister, who is also prosecutor general, having the power to appoint judges. Duda has rejected such power for a prosecutor general.

In making his decisions, Duda broke openly for the first time with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is the leader of Law and Justice Party, de facto leader of the country, but does not hold a formal government post.

The president said he believed that Poland badly needs reform of the judiciary, but he did not feel that these bills would raise the sense of security and justice in the country.

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