Polish Opposition Calls for Shortening Mandates in Parliament’s Lower House

Head of Poland’s opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) Wlodzimierz Czarzasty spoke Thursday in favor of shortening the mandate in the Polish parliament's lower house, the Sejm, amid controversial judiciary reform in the country.

"The Sejm in its current composition is unable to lead Poland in a reasonable and calm manner. 

We believe that, when the procedure of passing these shameful laws relating to the Supreme Court will be completed, all factions, all opposition parties should raise the question of the reduction of Sejm mandate," Czarzasty said at a briefing.

Earlier in the day, the Sejm adopted a draft bill concerning the Supreme Court, one of the proposed reforms to the country's judicial system, criticized both by Poland's opposition parties and Brussels, as well as by human rights activists.

Besides, the Polish Senate adopted last week two controversial bills on judiciary reform, introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS). 

The first outlines amendments to the law on the National Council of Judiciary, under which members of the Council, aimed at protection of an independent judiciary, will be appointed by the Parliament. 

The second draft bill will expand the powers of the justice minister, enabling the official to appoint or dismiss chief judges of ordinary courts. 

Polish President Andrzej Duda declined to sign the bills so far, proposing some amendments to the laws.

On Wednesday, the European Commission discussed judicial reforms in Poland in the course of a meeting in Brussels drawing a conclusion that these reforms would have a very negative impact on the judiciary and would threaten the rule of law in Poland. 

The EU Commission stated its readiness to revoke article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty that might suspend Poland's membership rights, such as voting in the Council of the European Union.