Poland's President Spikes Court Reform Bills After Protests

Polish President Andrzej Duda has vetoed two of three bills that would give the government more power over the court system.
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jul 24, 2017

Days of massive protests in Poland appear to have paid off for demonstrators. The country's president has vetoed two bills that would've reined in its Supreme Court.

President Andrzej Duda said he supported the bills' stated goals of judicial reform but wanted them rewritten before he signed.

The bills come from Poland's right-wing Law and Justice Party, which isn't technically Duda's party but backed him for president. If signed, they would have given Duda and the party more control over who sits on the Supreme Court and lower benches.

Some say the move was a power grab, and it prompted thousands of demonstrators to flood the capital city, Warsaw, over the weekend. The EU and the U.S. were also concerned about the legislation.

Although Duda rejected two bills, he did sign a third, which lets Poland's justice minister pick the heads of local courts and send certain cases to certain judges.

But the vetoes are still a very public blow to Justice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Before this, Duda consistently backed Kaczynski's legislative agenda.