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Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Polish Supreme Court 1st President refuses to retire

Polish Supreme Court 1st President refuses to retire

"Under the constitution, Mrs Gersdorf has retired because she exceeded the age limit of 65", he said, adding that Gersdorf has not filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court to question the constitutionality of the new retirement law.

Surrounded by supporters she said her presence was not about politics but she was there to protect the rule of law.

But even as the Tuesday deadline for the 27 judges to hand in their resignations came and past, none came and on Wednesday hundreds of supportive protesters swarmed chief justice Malgorzata Gersdorf as she returned to work.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party instituted a mandatory retirement age of 65 for Supreme Court justices earlier this year.

The European Commission launched new legal proceedings against the Warsaw government on Monday, claiming that the move would undermine judicial independence.

But the right-wing government says the reforms are needed to tackle corruption and overhaul the judicial system.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defending his government's policies under tough questioning from lawmakers at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Previously on the square before the building of the Supreme court of Poland protests reached about 4 thousand citizens demanding the abolition of the reform.

"I don't want to say that I am terrified", Supreme Court Judge Malgorzata Gersdorf told The New York Times. Yet, she said she is expecting President Andrzej Duda will tell her to go during a meeting later in the day. It argues that putting judges under the control of the legislative and executive branches makes the courts answerable to voters.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the ruling party leader, said in an interview published Wednesday by the Gazeta Polska daily that the judges' "action" will result in their "shameful disaster".

The row is a culmination of a broad overhaul of the judiciary implemented by the nationalist ruling party that has fueled unprecedented tensions between the Polish government and the European Union over democratic values.

The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal for criminal and civil cases in Poland.

Under the law adopted last December, current judges have the possibility to apply for prolongation of their mandate by the president, which can be granted for a period of three years and renewed once.

It was the latest salvo in a bitter battle over sweeping judicial changes introduced by the PiS government that could end up in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the bloc's top tribunal. The reform of supreme is in addition to or previous legal modifications with which ultraconservatives, since y reached government in 2015, have guaranteed control of Constitutional Court, attorney General of State or mass media Public.

Warsaw faces the threat of losing its voting rights in the bloc under a procedure launched late past year over judiciary reforms.

Protesters expressed fears that the party will use its political sway over the court to falsify future elections.

Warsaw has received support from Hungary's government with has also come under European Union pressure over perceived violations of the rule of law and democratic values.

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