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Poland's senate approves contentious court bill

شعار Al Jazeera Al Jazeera 22/07/2017
Police stand guard outside the Parliament during a protest against the legislation [Kacper Pempel/Reuters] © Provided by Al Jazeera Police stand guard outside the Parliament during a protest against the legislation [Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

Poland's upper house of parliament has approved a contentious bill that gives politicians substantial influence over the Supreme Court.

A total of 55 Senators voted for the bill, with 23 voting against the bill that critics fear will undermine the separation of powers between executive and judiciary.

The bill, proposed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, needs to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, an ally of PiS.

The governing party says it's needed to improve the court's efficiency and break with communist-era judges and practices.

The parliament pushed through the change to the Supreme Court, which gives the government power to select candidates for the court, despite protests by thousands of people and criticisms from the EU.

Police said 14,000 people participated in Thursday's demonstration, while city officials claimed the number was up to 50,000.

Many of the PiS supporters believe Poland's courts are still tainted by the nation's communist past and thus applaud the reform.

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