05:12, July 24 112 0 theguardian.com

2017-07-24 05:12:02
Poland's president to veto controversial laws amid protests

Poland’s president says he will veto two contentious bills that are widely seen as attacks on the independence of the judicial system and are part of a planned legal overhaul by the ruling party that has sparked days of nationwide protests.

In announcing his decision on Monday, Andrzej Duda broke openly for the first time with Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party. Duda is closely aligned with the party and has supported its agenda since taking office in 2015.

The Polish currency, the zloty, immediately rose against the euro, as investors saw the decision as lowering the political risk in Poland.

Duda said he would veto two of three bills recently passed by lawmakers. One would have put the supreme court under the political control of the ruling party – giving the justice minister, who is also prosecutor general, power to appoint judges.

“I have decided that I will send back to Sejm (the lower house of parliament), which means I will veto the bill on the supreme court, as well as the one about the National Council of the Judiciary,” Duda said after days of mass street protests.

Duda said a prosecutor general should not have such powers.

Katarzyna Lubnauer, head of the parliamentary caucus of the opposition party Nowoczesna, said: “What we had was not a reform, but appropriation of the courts. I congratulate all Poles, this is a great success”.

Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report