Polish conservatives fuel court crisis by electing new judge
(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo called it "an attack" on the Polish state and said the parliament's time would have been better spent addressing any of the "crises" facing the EU. Here she is seen arriving to attend the second day of an European Union Summit held at the EU Council building in Brussels on March 18 2016. AFP / Thierry Charlier
Warsaw: Poland's parliament on Thursday voted in a new judge to its already packed top court fuelling a constitutional crisis that earned the conservative government a sharp rebuke from the European Union the previous day.
The constitutional court is already overpopulated and in legal limbo following bids by both the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party and the previous liberal administration to pack the bench with loyal judges.
The ruling PiS has also pushed through several controversial pieces of legislation to overhaul the court and modify its decision-making rules since coming to power in November after eight years in opposition.
Polish opposition lawmaker Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz said Thursday's vote would only further delay "the possibility of a peaceful solution" to the constitutional crisis.
The lawmaker from the liberal Nowoczesna party had urged the conservatives not to choose a new judge "so as to avoid chaos destabilisation a blow to our international alliances".
The last-minute vote at the PiS-controlled parliament was added to Thursday's agenda in the morning hot on the heels of Wednesday's rebuke from the European Parliament.
In January the European Commission the EU's executive arm launched an unprecedented probe into whether the changes to the constitutional court violate the bloc's democracy rules and merit punitive measures.
The resolution approved overwhelmingly by MEPs on Wednesday urged the commission to take action.
The Warsaw government's changes to the workings of the country's top court "poses a danger to democracy human rights and the rule of law" the resolution said.
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo called it "an attack" on the Polish state and said the parliament's time would have been better spent addressing any of the "crises" facing the EU.