The Confederation proposes, and the president tentatively says “yes”. This is about the so-called constitutional reset proposed by Krzysztof Bosak, i.e. introducing amendments to the Constitution that would reset the composition of the most important judicial bodies. Is this the only way to remedy the situation in the justice system?
When different and contradictory decisions were made regarding the parliamentary mandates of Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik in two different chambers of the Supreme Court, the former deputy speaker of the Sejm said that this was not a problem for politicians. – This is a problem for lawyers, let them solve it somehow – said Ryszard Terlecki, PiS MP.
Meanwhile, lawyers emphasize that there is little that can be done legally at this stage. – Politicians have corrupted themselves and politicians with a sense of concern for Poland can change it. Lawyers will no longer solve this dispute. Every ruling that is issued will always be met with a counter-ruling, emphasizes Piotr Prusinowski, president of the Supreme Court who manages the work of the Chamber of Labor.
The confusion results from changes during the eight-year rule of PiS and Sovereign Poland. The new ruling coalition says: step by step, we are restoring the rule of law, but the new opposition talks about breaking the law and chaos. Due to mutual accusations between the new and previous rulers, the Confederation argues that something more is needed. – You will continue to wade into this conflict, where everyone will have their own judges, their own judgments, their own laws and their own tribunals, some in the country, others abroad, this is a road to nowhere – emphasizes Krzysztof Bosak, deputy speaker of the Sejm from Confederation. – This problem must be solved and cannot be solved unilaterally. There is no longer any possibility for one side to win the election and impose its solutions on the other, adds Michał Wawer from Konfederacja.
The Confederation says: we have a constitutional crisis, so we need a constitutional reset. – I appeal to all political forces to sit down for a normal conversation about how to restore the unity of the state – emphasizes Krzysztof Bosak. The Confederation says it is important to start talking. Then you can discuss the details…
The details of this constitutional reset are known. Broadly speaking, it would be about resetting the composition of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Tribunal and the National Council of the Judiciary. New squads would be established under new rules.
For now, PiS replies that this is a bad time for such discussions. – The new government must take a step back and simply withdraw from these changes, from this violation of the law that they are currently conducting – emphasizes Anna Gembicka, a PiS MP.
The president’s move
In an interview for “Super Express”, the president calls this idea “good and interesting”. He also says that you need to think about it. “I respect Krzysztof Bosak very much. It is certainly a good idea to sit down and start a conversation. Most of our society is waiting for the situation in the country to calm down. I am ready to talk with Marshal Krzysztof Bosak and agree initially to a certain formula, I am proposing. I think it is an interesting idea. I believe that those who decide today on the political scene, those leaders, should think carefully about Marshal Bosak’s proposal,” said President Andrzej Duda.
– He (the president – editor’s note) is ready to talk and believes that Krzysztof Bosak or Konfederacja are right, that it is worth taking a systemic approach to solving this matter – adds Marcin Mastalerek, head of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Poland. Andrzej Duda says that people are waiting for the situation to calm down. But it was Andrzej Duda who signed the PiS laws that led to this confusion. That’s why the new rulers have doubts. – When I hear that the president would willingly agree to any proposal put forward by the Confederation, a thousand red lights go off in my mind – admits Włodzimierz Czarzasty, deputy speaker of the Sejm from the New Left.
The plan for a constitutional reset, i.e. solving all the most important problems in one fell swoop, may turn out to be imperfect, say those in power. – The simplest solutions are the most difficult, because they seem very attractive, but when you dig into these solutions, it turns out that there are more problems – adds Czarzasty.
The voice of the People’s Party
A much larger majority is needed to change the constitution than to pass an ordinary bill. In practice, the ruling majority would have to reach an agreement with the opposition. The Civic Coalition maintains that there are no plans for this at the moment. – We do not have any plans to change the constitution. We think it is of great value. It’s not like something needs to be erased or something needs to be eliminated. It’s simply about repair – emphasizes Michał Szczerba.
The coalition partner adds his share. The president of the Polish People’s Party says that changing the constitution is the only right solution. – The constitution needs to be changed in some areas. For example the Constitutional Tribunal. If PiS rejects this proposal, its responsibility will be even greater – emphasizes Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, deputy prime minister and minister of national defense from PSL-Trzecia Droga.
PSL is preparing its own proposals for changes. We will meet them in the coming days. At the same time, the People’s Party members are already starting to explain that there is no need to rush the changes and that it may be about developing plans for the next term of the Sejm. – It is good to use this time for the next elections to prepare solutions that, for example, in the next parliamentary term would provide a chance for such changes – notes Krzysztof Paszczyk from PSL-Trzecia Droga.
The restraint of those in power
Unexpectedly, the Prime Minister announced that Justice Minister Adam Bodnar would soon present his own proposals for amending the constitution. – He has prepared changes to both the constitution and other regulations, which should begin the process of depoliticization of the legal system – Tusk announced. As Kosiniak-Kamysz admitted, discussions on this subject in the government are ongoing. However, Szymon Hołownia has doubts whether there is currently a “constitutional moment”. – Any idea that will actually take us out of the clinch is good – he added.
Monika Frąckowiak, representative of the Association of Polish Judges “Iustitia”, says that plans for any reset need to be very careful. – Words such as “let’s reset something, let’s set it up again” cause great anxiety – emphasizes Monika Frąckowiak. – We should work within what we already have. Only thanks to a consistent approach to the constitution, while also maintaining the standards resulting from European law and the European Convention on Human Rights, we are able to fix the chaos we have – he adds.
Currently, the Ministry of Justice has two proposals – to separate the functions of the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General and to depoliticize the National Council of the Judiciary. Again, the problem is that the president’s signature is required for the bills. Those in power will not be able to override his veto.
– I am open to all kinds of negotiations and proposals for various changes in the Polish justice system. I have only one final reservation. I will not allow any verification of judges who were appointed over the last 8.5 years, i.e. during my presidency, Andrzej Duda announced.
The current project to depoliticize the National Council of the Judiciary only works for the future. For now, it does not mention the verification of judges appointed or promoted by Andrzej Duda so far. There are such plans in the future. They would not apply to judges newly appointed after an assistant judgeship, but only to those promoted with the participation of the new, politicized National Council of the Judiciary.
Main photo source: Fakty po Południu TVN24