Julia Przyłębska is the president of the Constitutional Court and anyone who questions this is questioning the law in force; there is no legal dispute here, only issues related to the aspirations of some people who are in a hurry to get this position, PiS president Jarosław Kaczyński told PAP.
PAP: President Andrzej Duda’s motion to amend the Supreme Court law is still pending in the Constitutional Tribunal. The Tribunal should hear the case in full. In your opinion, will it be possible to gather the right number of judges, taking into account the ongoing dispute over whether Julia Przyłębska is still the President of the Constitutional Court?
Jaroslaw Kaczynski: I’m an optimist here, though I realize that different human attitudes can get in the way. However, these attitudes have no justification. Mrs Julia Przyłębska is the president of the Constitutional Tribunal and anyone who questions this is simply questioning the law in force, however one tries to interpret it.
Despite this, some judges of the Constitutional Court believe that Julia Przyłębska’s term of office expired in December last year.
For here was a statement that the President of the Tribunal is no longer the President, because she served a six-year term. The provisions on the term of office of the President of the Constitutional Tribunal entered into force in January 2017. This means that they were not in force at the time of Julia Przyłębska’s election, i.e. in December 2016.
In two cases, the law accelerated the entry into force of certain provisions, but these were not those relating to the term of office of the president. Therefore, in accordance with normal legal reasoning a contrario, it is clear that the legislature intended this law to come into effect from the next election of the President of the Constitutional Court.
So where did this legal dispute come from?
There is no legal dispute here. These are just issues related to some – let’s say – aspirations of some people in a hurry. They can, of course, be presidential candidates, but only when President Julia Przyłębska’s term of office ends, which will be in December next year.
In short, this entire dispute is contrived, deliberate, and has no legal basis. I hope that at least some of the judges who take such an unjustified position here will nevertheless choose the cause of the state. The decision on this is a state matter; so important that no considerations that have no legal basis, but are only part of the personal beliefs of certain people, can get in the way.
I repeat, every judge of the Constitutional Court is, of course, entitled to consider himself the right candidate for the future president, if his term of office does not end in some way shortly after President Przyłębska’s term, because there is no point in electing a new president for several months. I’m not questioning that law, but everything in its own time, and that time will come at the end of next year.
Basically, you expect 11 justices to meet to hear the novella’s case at the Supreme Court.
I hope that these 11 judges will make the right decisions, that they will behave in a lawful manner. As far as I know it’s not far from there.
I would also like to point out that in the course of legal interpretation the will of the legislator is recreated, and here the will of the legislator is perfectly clear. This law was passed by the political camp of which I am and was the head, and I have no doubt what the will of the legislature was. And there is such a thing as historical interpretation, when the real will of the legislator is reconstructed. This is an additional interpretation, but it can be used. Here, with this interpretation, the matter is completely beyond dispute.
Settlement of this case is the only obstacle to hearing the Supreme Court law amendment issue?
If the Tribunal meets in sufficient numbers and there is a full bench to consider the decision of the president, it is for this bench to decide what the decision will be. I am convinced that this law is constitutional. But what will be the conviction – whether it is the whole squad or the majority of the squad, I don’t know. The point is that a decision has to be made. It cannot be suspended, because this situation is not only detrimental to the state, it is not only a question of the right to exist, but also a matter of observance of certain rules. Rules that should apply to those situations where the procedure of the Constitutional Tribunal must be as efficient and rapid as possible. The President’s requests to the Constitutional Court should be treated in this way.
Do you hope that this issue will be resolved and that funds from the National Reconstruction Plan will flow to Poland before the elections?
I hope it can be arranged. But from settling this issue to the flow of EU funds will probably take some time, so I wouldn’t risk it here, although I wouldn’t rule it out.
It’s about getting the president’s request resolved. I hope it will be resolved positively. This is my position – as a citizen – because I have no influence on the decisions of the Tribunal.
Rafał Bialkowski spoke (PAP)
Emma Matthew is a political analyst for “Social Bites”. With a keen understanding of the inner workings of government and a passion for politics, she provides insightful and informative coverage of the latest political developments.