Polish state becoming authoritarian, top judge Gersdorf says
The outgoing head of Poland's Supreme Court says the nationalist ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) is moving the country towards an authoritarian state.
Prof Malgorzata Gersdorf, retiring after a six-year term, was speaking to broadcaster TVN24.
Asked if Poland was an authoritarian state, she said "not yet I hope, but we're moving towards one fast".
She cited the party's determination to hold a presidential election next month by postal vote only.
The controversial election, which is happening despite the coronavirus lockdown, sidelines the state electoral commission.
Mrs Gersdorf has defended the supreme court's independence and rebuffed accusations by the governing party and its ally President Andrzej Duda that Polish judges are a privileged and corrupt "caste" that protect their own interests, not the peoples'.
"I paid for defending judicial and judges' independence, becoming the target of both petty and brutal attacks. I wasn't prepared," Mrs Gersdorf wrote in a farewell letter to her colleagues.
With the country under lockdown, Mrs Gersdorf did not convene a general assembly of the court to nominate her successor.
President Duda on Thursday appointed Kamil Zaradkiewicz, a former Justice Ministry official during the previous PiS government, as her interim successor to organise that process.
Judge Zaradkiewicz was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2018 by President Duda.
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