Poland’s President Moves Toward Constitution Changes Vote

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said Friday he is hoping to win approval for a November referendum on if and how the country’s constitution should be changed.

Duda is asking the Senate to give its approval for the Nov. 10-11 referendum of 10 questions, asking Poles whether, among other issues, the constitution should confirm Poland’s European Union and NATO memberships, its Christian roots, the right-wing government’s policy of family bonuses as well as everyone’s right to work.

The timing of the referendum, marking 100 years of Poland’s independence, may conflict with key local elections, scheduled to be held around that time.

Duda’s announcement came as the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, in a heated debate, was pushing amendments through parliament to its own overhaul of the judiciary that will help it appoint the head of the Supreme Court and influence the work of judges.

The job and the independence of the Supreme Court’s chief justice are at the center of a major political battle.

Law and Justice considers Judge Malgorzata Gersdorf to be retired in light of recent legislation that lowered age limits for judges. Gersdorf, however, has continued to show up for work, insisting that, according to the constitution, her term runs until early 2020.

EU leaders have said the judicial overhaul undermines Poland’s constitution and its rule of law and have triggered sanctioning procedures.

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