President Duda will veto controversial Supreme Court reform

President Duda will veto controversial Supreme Court reform

Opponents of the laws have argued that they will harm the independence of the judicial system.

European Union president, Donald Tusk, Poland's former prime minister, appealed to President Duda for a meeting to seek ways out of the situation that, he said, went against EU values and would be destructive to Poland's global image.

Pressure from the outside the country, however, was probably not the precipitating factor for Duda's decision.

Dealing a blow to the ruling party that backed his presidency, Andrzej Duda struck down bills that would have replaced Poland's Supreme Court judges and revamped the Judicial Council, which makes key personnel decisions.

His decision followed more than a week of street protests across the country.

"It was never part of our tradition that the attorney general could interfere in the work of the Supreme Court", Duda said.

"Duda's veto surely offers a breather, but it depends a lot on whether the ruling party will continue with the attempts to control the judiciary or whether they'll back down", said Paul Ivan, a Brussels-based analyst at the European Policy Center.

It proposed that the government's bid to push through its nominees for the National Judiciary Council be watered down, by requiring the support of another party.

The bills call for the immediate firing of all current Supreme Court judges, except those approved by the president, and it gives the president power to regulate other courts.

Ever since it came to power in Poland in the fall of 2015, Kaczynski's party has been accused of taking systematic steps to crack down on the rule of law, and place the state administration and the media under its control.

There had been unconfirmed reports of conflict between the president and party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Duda said the reforms, including a clear-out of Supreme Court judges, were in line with popular expectations and that many Poles had grievances against the justice system.

The parliament can also redraft the bill that has been turned down by the president and send it back for approval. It also said the reforms should respect the ideas of judicial independence and separation of powers.

Many were surprised, as the president is a former member of the right-wing ruling party which is pushing the legislation.

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo vowed that the government would "realise our plan".

For days, tens of thousands of protesters have held candlelit vigils in cities including Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan, demanding that Duda veto the reforms. He said he would discuss the changes with experts.

The speed at which the party pushed the legislation through parliament was another subject of suspicion and criticism.

Supporters of the party now control public television and radio, the secret services, and the Constitutional Tribunal, which rules on the constitutionality of legislation and the actions of state bodies.

"The president's veto doesn't meet the end of the story", Jan Grabiec, spokesman of Civic Platform said by phone.

"I see no threat to the division of powers in Poland", Przylebska, who was appointed by Duda previous year, told state TV last night, according to state news agency PAP.