The Polish president Andrzej Duda’s decision to yield to street protests and veto two of three bills that threatened to give the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) control of the country’s judicial system was as surprising as it was dramatic.
A former PiS MEP and relative unknown before his election to the presidency in 2015, Duda, as the country’s head of state, is nominally above party politics. In practice, however, he has played an instrumental role in his former party’s hostile takeover of public media outlets and the country’s highest constitutional court. Critics have accused him of violating his oath to uphold the Polish constitution on innumerable occasions.
The protesters focused their attention squarely on Duda and his power of veto and – for now – they have succeeded. What comes next is less clear and will depend on the rationale behind the president’s decision.
My analysis for the Guardian can be found here.