Poland's parliament has approved a Supreme Court reform bill that critics, including the European Union, say would step the country closer to authoritarian rule -- the decision now ultimately in the hands of President Andrzej Duda. Matthew Larotonda reports.
Poland's government taking one more step toward a Supreme Court overhaul that opponents contend would remove its independence. The European Union itself threatening sanctions on its own member state. The upper house of parliament passing controversial legislation in the middle of the night, as a week of protests on Warsaw's streets kept their own candles burning. The bill would dismiss current memTVbers of the Supreme Court except those already hand picked by the justice minister. It's designed to combine with other legislation, recently passed, that leaves the ultimate power to replace those judges in the hands of parliament... ... By changing an independent government committee tasked with vetting new judges to include people agreed on by the lawmakers. Critics say it would give too much power to the ruling party, currently the socially conservative Law and Justice Party. Now the judges' fate is squarely in the hands of President Andrzej Duda - normally an ally of the party -- but now an unknown. He previously threatened to veto the measure unless a bill amended so that 60 percent of parliament was also required to approve of their replacements, up from a simple majority - a demand that was met. Yet the president's office says there's still, what they called, "inconsistences", in the bill and that he was weighing his options. He has 21 days to decide. The Law and Justice Party is broadly popular in Poland but a recent poll suggests 55 percent of the country want him to veto it. Only 29 approve.