Polish court sets higher bar for bringing cbank governor before State Tribunal

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday that bringing the central bank governor Adam Glapinski before the State Tribunal requires a qualified majority of votes in parliament.

This will make it harder for the new pro-European coalition, which only holds a simple majority, to make good on its campaign pledge to bring the governor to justice for what it said were actions that compromised the central bank’s independence.

Critics, including current Prime Minister Donald Tusk, argued during the campaign that Glapinski pursued monetary policy that aimed to help the previous government in the run-up to the Oct. 15 election.

Glapinski has dismissed such accusations and has provided robust and often lengthy defences of his record during monthly press conferences.

Once in power, Tusk, has also toned down his rhetoric, saying he would not do anything that would destabilise the central bank.

The Tribunal is among institutions critics say became politicised during nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party’s time in power and judges appointed then could hamper the new government’s efforts to undo some of the changes PiS introduced or hold those it accuses of wrongdoing to account.

Poland’s new government has made judicial reform a top priority as it seeks to unblock billions of euros in European Union funds frozen over rule-of-law concerns.

The Tribunal also ruled that suspending the central bank governor in his duties by simple majority of votes was unconstitutional.

“This rules out bringing the governor (to court) and suspending him in his duties … by a majority lower than 3/5 of members of parliament,” the Tribunal said in a justification of its verdict.

The central bank has warned that putting Glapinski, whose ties to PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski go back decades, before a tribunal would damage the economy.

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)