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European Court of Human Rights overturns parts of Polish judicial reform

European Court of Human Rights overturns parts of Polish judicial reform

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has declared parts of Poland’s judicial reform illegal. The committee decided today that the reduction in the retirement age for judges implemented by the nationalist conservative Law and Justice Party government amounted to arbitrary interference with the independence of the judiciary.

The European Court of Human Rights rejected a Polish regulation under which the Minister of Justice decides, among other things, whether a judge can continue to work after reaching retirement age – 60 for female judges and 65 for their male colleagues. This is an infringement on independence. In addition, the distinction between male and female judges violates European regulations on equal treatment.

The pension regulations were part of a series of judicial reforms introduced by the PiS, in power since 2015, which were criticized by EU institutions, among others. The PiS government accused the European Union of unacceptable interference in internal affairs, while its critics accused it of undermining the democratic separation of powers and creating populist sentiments.

The opposition agrees on a coalition alliance

Former Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his opposition coalition want to reverse controversial reforms under the PiS government. In the elections that took place on October 15, the Law and Justice Party emerged as the strongest force, but it was unable to obtain a government majority.

In Poland, the replacement of the ruling party is approaching. The pro-European opposition parties Citizens’ Coalition (KO), Third Way and the Left have agreed to form a coalition government, their party leaders announced at a joint press conference in Warsaw.

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The head of government should be KO Tusk. The former EU Council president is about to return as prime minister. Agence France-Presse quoted Tusk as saying that the three parties are ready for “comprehensive cooperation” at the beginning of the legislative period.