23:17 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Poland's largest opposition party, the Civic Platform, has accused the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party of ignoring the values of the parliamentary system, as the Venice Commission visiting the country is holding meetings with PiS representatives only.

    WARSAW (Sputnik) — The Venice Commission, which is an advisory body of the Council of Europe authorized to assist countries in constitutional affairs and improve democratic institutions, is visiting Poland on September 12-13. The Commission is set to prepare a report over Poland’s controversial law concerning the country's Constitutional Tribunal by October 14-15.

    According to Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, a vice speaker of the country's parliament, other political parties' representatives will not have an opportunity to meet with the Venice Commission.

    The cancellation of meetings between the Venice Commission and other parties, besides the PiS, is a "disregard for political parties and not only for the opposition, but disregard for the whole idea of parliamentarism," Civic Platform lawmaker Krzysztof Brejza said as quoted by the Gazeta Prawna newspaper on Monday.

    In March, the Council of Europe’s advisory panel, known as the Venice Commission, said that the reform of the Constitutional Tribunal as well as other legislation by Poland's ruling party were a threat to democracy and rule of law in Poland.

    On July 31, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the new law on the Constitutional Tribunal, the country's top legislative court. The new law stipulates that decision on very important issues must be made in the presence of 11 out of the 15 Constitutional Tribunal judges, and a review of compliance of a law with the constitution can be made by five judges.

    The bill also provides for the principle of the so-called blocking minority, according to which if four judges vote against a motion during a meeting in full attendance, they may affect its imposition.

    On July 27, the European Commission warned Poland that the country had not sufficiently addressed its initial concerns about the Constitutional Court reform and gave Warsaw three months to guarantee the tribunal's independence.


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    Polish Law and Justice Political Party (PiS), Civic Platform, Krzysztof Brejza, Poland
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