The head of the highest authority in the Polish justice system, the National Judicial Council, resigned because of the new rules introduced by ruling Conservatives and allowing politicians to elect its members, the Associated Press reported.

The new law on the council was also criticized in Poland and by European leaders who said it violated the basic principle of rule of law. Council Chairman Dariusz Zavistowski said he resigned because – in the opinion of the council – the new rules that come into force on Tuesday contradict the Polish constitution. It is foreseen that the members of the council, which have so far been elected by the magistrates, are already elected by the parliament and, according to the critics of the law, this affects the independence of the judiciary. On 20 December, the European Commission for the first time in the history of the EU launched a criminal procedure against Poland for violating the fundamental principle of the independence of the judiciary. The procedure could lead to depriving Poland of voting rights in the EU Council.