Head of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński has dismissed a ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal as the “private” opinion of “a certain group of people”, reaffirming that the verdict should not be published.
The tribunal had rejected government backed reforms on Wednesday, arguing that amendments would prevent the court from functioning “reliably and efficiently”.
For the ruling to be binding, it must be formally published by Prime Minister Beata Szydło and thousands of protesters took to the streets of various Polish cities over the weekend in support of the court.
“There was no ruling,” Kaczyński told public broadcaster TVP.
“There is no way in which one can talk about it as a ruling.
“Nothing can be published.
“It is in fact the private standpoint of a group of certain people who happen to fulfil the functions of judges of the Constitutional Tribunal.”
The government-backed amendments required 13 out of 15 of the court’s judges to be present in rulings, rather than the nine necessary until now.
Only 12 judges participated in the recent session, prompting the Law and Justice government to insist that the ruling is not valid.
However, human rights watchdog the Venice Commission – an arm of the European Council – concluded in its Friday recommendations that the ruling by the 12 judges “has not fallen short of Polish constitutional law.”
US ambassador asked Kaczyński to retreat over court?
Meanwhile, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza has claimed that US Ambassador Paul W. Jones had earlier asked Kaczyński to back down over the government-supported amendments to the court, which were voted through parliament in December.
The daily claims the discussion took place early March.
The paper likewise noted that there had been a sharpening of anti-US rhetoric from Law and Justice since then.
On Saturday, Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz made a thinly-veiled reference to the US.
“So people who only built their state in the 18th century are going to tell us what democracy is?” he declared.
However, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has downplayed suggestions that Poland’s role as host of a forthcoming NATO summit could be taken away. (nh/pk)