Poland’s Court Crisis Cools Off, but It’s Far From Over

But everyone knows the crisis is merely postponed. The battle over the courts promises to loom as a point of contention for Poles, especially of a younger generation, concerned about safeguarding the hard-won democratic progress the country has made since communism collapsed more than 25 years ago.

In vetoing the two bills on Monday, a move that shocked leaders of the Law and Justice party, President Andrzej Duda said he would spend the next two months drafting his own versions of the bills.

Party officials, who had considered the president a reliable supporter, said that they would not give up on what they called urgently needed reforms of a dysfunctional and coddled judiciary, but that they would wait to see the president’s bills before taking further action.

“The decision of the president was so unprecedented that, basically, I don’t know what the future will be,” said Adam Bodnar, Poland’s official ombudsman, who came out against the proposed laws. “Will there be growing conflict between the party and the president? What shape will these new laws take?”

In an interview Thursday night with a Catholic television station, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the undisputed leader of the governing party, said it had clearly miscalculated in rolling out its court program.


Protesters outside Parliament in Warsaw during deliberations on the judicial changes in July.

Wojtek Radwanski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But, he insisted, the government still intends to achieve its goals, despite the vetoes.

“Now we must think of ways to fix it,” Mr. Kaczynski said. “How to make sure that it was just an incident that can be quickly forgotten so we will move forward, meaning that this reform will be passed, and that it will be a radical reform, because only if it’s radical will it truly change the reality.”


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