Protests over Polish government's take-over of its Supreme Court

Poland's upper house of parliament has approved a contentious bill that gives politicians substantial influence over the Supreme Court.

President Duda, a PiS ally, will have to sign it before it can become law.

Early on Saturday Poland's senate approved the reform, which gives the government power to select candidates for the court.

Proposed by the ruling Law and Justice party, the measure would remove current members of the Supreme Court, except those handpicked by the justice minister, and grant the governing party power over future appointments. Many are holding "3 X veto" signs to make Duda reject the bills on the Supreme Court and other judicial bodies that are waiting for his signature to become law. Duda has so far followed the ruling party line.

"We urge all sides to ensure that any judicial reform does not violate Poland's constitution or global legal obligations and respects the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers", it said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have descended into the streets across the country in recent days to protest the proposed law.

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In anticipation of the vote, crowds gathered Friday night for yet another protest in front of the Supreme Court building in Warsaw and in some other cities.

THE CONFLICT between the EU Commission and the misnamed Law and Justice government in Poland is a case - to adapt Oscar Wilde - of the unedifying in pursuit of the unspeakable.

Tusk said the steps the Polish government is taking toward the judiciary would allow it to limit social freedoms if it wants.

Her comments appeared to refer to warnings from the European Union of sanctions against Poland, including the possibility of stripping Warsaw of its EU voting rights. Earlier this week it cleared the lower house and will now go to President Andrzej Duda.

The Senate's decision comes less than a month after President Donald Trump delivered a landmark speech to the Polish people in which he praised Poland's "place in a strong and democratic Europe".

Prime Minister Beata Szydlo says the legislation is an internal matter and the government will not bow to any foreign pressure.

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Critics at home and overseas say the legislation is part of a drift towards authoritarianism by the government, which espouses nationalist rhetoric coupled with left-leaning economic policy.

The changes were backed by the Law and Justice party, also known as as PiS.

Opponents of the move argue that it will demolish judicial independence and separation of powers in the country, marking a major shift for a ruling government that has already been accused of pursuing an illiberal agenda.

In Trump's troubling and odd speech in Poland two weeks ago, the US president said he was honored "to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free".

While PiS remains broadly popular among many Poles, particularly poorer and older voters from the countryside, there have been widespread protests against the plans.

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