The Polish Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that Adam Bodnar is to leave his position as ombudsman within three months regardless of whether his successor has been chosen. The Tribunal believes that the provisions of the ombudsman bill which permitted Bodnar to remain in his position after the end of his term (which ended on Sept. 9, 2020) are incompatible with the Polish constitution.
The Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the European Commission Vera Jourova posted an entry on Twitter in which she stated that the situation concerning Bodnar was being closely followed.
We are following closely and with concern the developments relating to the ?? Ombudsman. It's of great importance to ensure that this institution, which defends citizens’ rights and plays an important role for upholding the rule of law, remains independent https://t.co/VjidbN7YeK
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) April 15, 2021
Polish Deputy Minister of Justice Marcin Romanowski responded on Twitter to Jourova’s statement.
Dear @VeraJourova, I'm kindly asking you to refrain from continued manipulation by means of legal terms.
In ?? we believe that Ombudsman's role is to safeguard the rights of all citizens. Not to promote a certain ideology or political agenda. https://t.co/WFbVPTVUYy
— Marcin Romanowski (@MarRomanowski) April 15, 2021
The Polish Constitutional Court stated that the provision which permits Bodnar to continue his function is to stop being in effect three months after the court’s ruling has been published in the Journal of Laws. During this period, parliament should pass regulations on the ombudsman’s term.
Law and Justice (PiS) MPs initiated a case against Bodner through a motion which reached the Constitutional Tribunal in mid-September 2020. The motion concerned investigating whether the extension of the ombudsman’s term once it had ended and a successor had not been chosen was constitutional.
Bartłomiej Wróblewski appointed by Sejm as the next ombudsman
On Thursday evening, the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, appointed Bartłomiej Wróblewski as the next ombudsman. The PiS MP’s candidacy must still be ratified by the Senate, in which the opposition holds a very small majority. Therefore, the result of the vote is uncertain.
This is the fourth attempt since September 2020 to appoint a new ombudsman in Poland. The Constitutional Tribunal’s verdict is meant to help overcome the opposition’s obstruction in the Senate.