Polish Govt rejects renewed pressure from EU on rights
Poland's government on Wednesday rejected renewed pressure from the European Union for the way it is consolidating power, and opposition lawmakers pushed ahead with a plan to occupy parliament all the way into the New Year, APA reports quoting the New York TImes.
The heart of the issue is whether Poland's populist and nationalist Law and Justice party is taking an authoritarian turn and eroding democratic institutions. The focus of concerns has centered largely on the independence of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal but also on other issues perceived as backsliding on fundamental political rights.
The government stands by its democratic credentials and says that street protests and the opposition's occupation of parliament are attempts at destabilizing the state.
EU Vice-President Frans Timmermans weighed in on Wednesday, voicing renewed concerns over respect for the rule of law in Poland. He said he has sent a series of recommendations and given the Polish government two months to reply.
Timmermans said the 28-nation bloc "will not drop this matter."
"We feel a strong, strong feeling of solidarity with the Polish people who deserve, like all Europeans, to have an independent judiciary, to have a full separation of powers," Timmermans said.
Government spokesman Rafal Bochenek described the latest EU step as unnecessary. He said the government has solved its issues with the constitutional court, citing a new law regulating the court and the swearing in Wednesday of a new court president chosen by the ruling party.
Poland has been in a state of political tension since Law and Justice assumed power in November 2015 and moved quickly to solidify control over state institutions.
Tensions spiked last Friday over a plan by the ruling party to restrict media access in parliament. Opposition lawmakers began a sit-in around the speaker's podium that blocked proceedings on the budget. Large street protests also erupted and lasted for days.
The ruling authorities have since backed away from that media plan, but a dispute continues from that sit-in — a vote on the 2017 budget that ruling party lawmakers held in a separate room. Opposition lawmakers say that vote violated parliamentary procedures and must be held again.
Grzegorz Schetyna, head of the opposition Civic Platform party, said protesting lawmakers will remain inside parliament's main assembly hall in protest until Jan. 11, when parliament is to resume after a holiday break.
Law and Justice party chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski called the behavior of opposition lawmakers of a "criminal nature" and appealed to them to respect the law.
In reaction to the protests in Warsaw, state authorities have increased security outside of parliament, erecting metal barriers. Dozens of protesters gathered there Wednesday afternoon, vowing to remain as long as the protest inside the building continues.
"We will stay here til Jan. 11 to support the lawmakers, because they are fighting for us, for Polish society, so that we have full rights like in any democracy," said Elzbieta Grudzinska, an architect who has spent several nights there since Friday
Related news releases
- 27.06.2017Polish President hosted official reception for President of Azerbaijan
- 26.06.2017Eid al-Fitr prayer performed in Azerbaijan
- 24.06.2017Elchin Amirbayov appointed assistant to Azerbaijan's First Vice-President
- 23.06.2017Ilham Aliyev congratulates Azerbaijani people on Eid al-Fitr
- 23.06.2017Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani army among world’s strong armies
- 23.06.2017Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijani Armed Forces largely equipped with local products
- 23.06.2017President Ilham Aliyev attends opening of Internal Troops military unit in Shirvan
- 23.06.2017President Ilham Aliyev arrives in Shirvan city
- 22.06.2017Trump, new Saudi crown prince discuss Qatar rift
- 22.06.2017Russian diplomat appointed UN counter-terrorism head
- 21.06.2017Azerbaijani President: “Today Azerbaijan is the center of multiculturalism on the planet”
- 20.06.2017Azerbaijan names director of newly-established State Advertising Agency
- 16.06.201714th Int’l Baku Conference of Ombudsmen kicks off
- 15.06.2017Azerbaijan marks National Salvation Day
- 14.06.2017Ilham Aliyev: The day will come when Azerbaijani flag will be waving in Shusha
- 14.06.2017Baku Stock Exchange quits Federation of European and Asian Stock Exchanges
- 14.06.2017President Ilham Aliyev views reconstruction work in Jojug Marjanli village
- 14.06.2017Azerbaijan’s ruling party holds event on National Salvation Day
- 14.06.2017Azerbaijani economy to enter a new stage: deputy PM
- 13.06.2017President Ilham Aliyev visits grave of late Energy Minister Natig Aliyev
- 13.06.2017Last meeting of Azerbaijani parliament’s extraordinary session to take place on June 30
- 13.06.2017Notions of terrorist and terror broadened in Azerbaijan
- 13.06.2017Azerbaijani parliament begins extraordinary session
- 13.06.2017Russia would not have allowed to manipulate itself if joined NATO
- 12.06.2017Flights canceled, trains suspended as China braces for Typhoon
- 12.06.2017Deputy Heads of Secretariat of Azerbaijan’s First Vice-President appointed
- 09.06.2017President Ilham Aliyev offers condolences over death of Energy Minister Natig Aliyev
- 08.06.2017Iranian embassy in Azerbaijan makes statement on terrorist attacks in Tehran
- 07.06.2017Azerbaijani expanding notion of terrorist and terror
- 06.06.2017Prosecutor General: Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry played a great role in exposing spy network
- 06.06.2017Azerbaijan has effective mechanism to combat corruption: prosecutor general
- 06.06.2017Ilham Aliyev: Human rights and freedoms ensured in Azerbaijan
- 05.06.2017Families of people killed combating terrorism to get 90-fold of the deceased’s salary
- 05.06.2017Azerbaijan increases number of deputy justice ministers
- 05.06.2017Elchin Guliyev appointed head of Azerbaijan’s State Border Service
- 02.06.2017Assistant to first vice-president: Azerbaijan is passing through important stage of reforms - INTERVIEW
- 01.06.2017Maharram Aliyev relieved of his duties
- 01.06.2017Institute of advisers under Azerbaijani Presidential Administration abolished
- 01.06.2017New departments created in Azerbaijani Presidential Administration
- 01.06.2017Azerbaijani president’s assistant for defense issues dismissed
- 23.12.2016Azerbaijani president awards employees of Ombudsman's Office
- 23.12.2016US imposes sanctions against Syrian Central Bank chief, cabinet members
- 23.12.2016Malta's PM: Hijackers of Libyan plane used fake weapons
- 21.12.2016Speaker of Turkish Parliament arrives in Azerbaijan
- 21.12.2016Azerbaijani MP slams Iran’s high-level cooperation with Armenian military-criminal regime
- 21.12.2016Azerbaijani deputy PM visits Russian embassy to sign condolence book