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Polish Senate backs judicial overhaul, doesn't care about EU

Staff Writer |
Poland's upper house of parliament approved a Supreme Court overhaul, defying the European Union and critics at home who say the legislation would undermine democratic checks and balances.

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Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Warsaw and cities across Poland for candle-lit vigils to protest against the draft bill, as the Senate debated it late into the night.

Some protesters carried Polish and European Union flags, chanting "Free Courts".

To become law, the proposal still has to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party. The eurosceptic PiS argues new rules are needed to make the judiciary accountable and efficient.

The United States, Poland's most important ally in NATO, issued a statement urging Poland to ensure any changes respect the constitution.

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

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