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Protesters hit the streets after Polish President signs judicial appointments law

Protesters hit the streets after Polish President signs judicial appointments law
Copyright REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
Copyright REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros with REUTERS
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Poland sees a new wave of protests as President Duda signs contested judicial appointments law that accelerates changes in Supreme Court.

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Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law on Thursday a measure allowing the government to choose the next Supreme Court chief despite protesters claiming it violates judicial independence.

In spite of the European Union’s opposition, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party said a revamp is needed to make the courts more efficient.

Since the PiS came into power in 2015, dozens of judges have been let go from the Constitutional Tribunal, the National Judiciary Council, which decides judicial appointments, and now the Supreme Court.

This month alone, 22 Supreme Court judges were forced into early retirement.

On Wednesday, Polish senators approved the contested changes, which are designed to speed up the appointment of a new Supreme Court head to replace Malgorzata Gersdorf — who’s refused to leave claiming her constitutional term does not expire until 2020.

Opposition MPs said the changes undermine democratic norms.

Demonstrators gathered in Warsaw and other Polish cities to protest the new judicial appointments law.

People protesting the government's judicial overhaul

Protesters have been gathering in the Polish capital since the beginning of the month to support Gersdorf.

The EU has launched a legal challenge against the right-wing government.

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