Amidst controversy, the Sejm has passed the vote on judiciary reforms, with 235 votes in favor, 192 against and 23 abstentions. The new law will allow for the immediate forced retirement of all Supreme Court judges and their president, whose term is set in the constitution. It will also create three new chambers of the Supreme Court and change the manner in which new judges are appointed.
The reform and related Sejm deliberations have sparked a number of demonstrations throughout Poland, as well as criticism from the European Commission, with Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans stating that, “these laws would have a very significant negative impact on the independence of the judiciary and would increase the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland.”
The Sejm has rejected all the amendments proposed by the opposition, and approved 30 amendments proposed by ruling Law and Justice (PiS). The approved amendments include those proposed by President Andrzej Duda, which increase presidential prerogatives and set the required majority of 3/5 of all Sejm votes to appoint new judges – members of the National Judiciary Council (KRS).