European Parliament to debate state of Poland's democracy

The European Parliament is preparing to hold its third debate on the state of democracy in Poland since a populist party took power last year and moved quickly to solidify its hold on power.

The debate Wednesday comes a day after the Polish parliament passed two new laws that have been denounced by civic rights groups and the political opposition as violations of democratic freedoms.

One law gives state authorities greater powers to regulate public gatherings. The other gives the president powers over the makeup of the Constitutional Tribunal, weakening the separation of powers envisioned in the nation's constitution.

The ruling Law and Justice party has it has an electoral mandate to remake Poland and says its actions are needed to prevent the opposition from blocking its efforts.