Polish lawmakers look to investigate Russian influence in move opponents say targets ex-PM

Polish lawmakers on Friday approved a controversial draft law on alleged Russian influence in Poland that is targeting the opposition and could affect the outcome of fall parliamentary elections.

The new law will establish a state commission to investigate. Russian influence in Poland. It is widely seen as targeting former prime minister Donald Tusk, now the leader of the main opposition Civic Alliance, at a time when early campaigning for the fall election is underway.

The lower house, or Sejm, voted 234-219 to approve the law proposed by the right-wing ruling party. It still needs President Andrzej Duda’s approval to go into effect. It was not clear whether Duda would approve it.

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Tusk, who is not a member of parliament, was in the chamber during the vote.

He later said that those who voted for the law were “cowards” who had “broken the basic principles of good parliamentary manners and democracy, fear of losing their power, fear of the people, fear of responsibility”. Since (they should) lose the elections.”

He said the opposition had a strategy ready for the commission and called on police to join them in a pro-democracy march on June 4, the anniversary of the partially free elections in 1989 that led to Poland’s Communists were ousted from power.

Critics say the draft law violates Poland’s constitution and a citizen’s right to face an independent court, and is a clear example of how the ruling party, Law and Justice, once came to power. is using this law for its own purposes. In 2015

They dubbed the bill the “Lex Tusk,” an attempt to create a powerful and unconstitutional tool that would allow Law and Justice to retain power despite losing control of parliament in elections this fall. I will help.

Opponents of a proposal by Polish lawmakers to set up a state committee to investigate Russian influence claim it is worded in a way that unfairly targets former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who Now there are well-known opposition politicians of the country. (AP Photo/Zarek Sokolowski)

“This regulation violates all constitutional foundations,” said Słowomir Patera, a constitutional expert at Marie Skłodowska-Curie University in Lublin.

Patera said the proposed commission would investigate and prosecute “anyone who criticizes the current political or economic system” because the definition of “Russian influence” is vague.

Law and Justice accuses Tusk of being too friendly with Russia as prime minister from 2007-14 and signing gas deals for Russia before moving to Brussels to become its president. Council of Europe Between 2014-19.

Opposition senator Krzysztof Bryza said the new law was a “Soviet-style idea born from the mindset of (law and justice leader) Jaroslaw Kaczynski and the witch-hunt against Donald Tusk from Polish politics.” attempt”.

Tusk and Kaczynski are long-term political rivals.

The bill envisages the establishment of a state commission with powers of prosecutor and judge. It can impose penalties, including a 10-year ban on officials in positions that control the spending of public funds.

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The lower house also debated another bill proposed by the ruling party that lowers the required quorum of the Constitutional Court. It aims to speed up work on legislation that has been stalled by divisions within the court, which has been kept under political control. The rules also include new regulations that could unblock major EU funds that were frozen during Brussels’ spat with Warsaw over the law.

About 35 billion euros ($37 billion) in EU grants and loans are at stake as Poland’s government continues to spend heavily on social bonuses, pensions and weapons as the war progresses. Neighboring Ukraine to be continued

Voting was postponed until the next session of Parliament.

During a heated debate in parliament earlier this week, Tadeusz Cymanski, a key ruling party lawmaker, said the bill to reduce the quorum of the constitutional tribunal was crucial because the party “wants to force the tribunal… That he should issue a special order. Waiting.”

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The government’s policies, particularly in the judicial system, have already put Warsaw at odds with the European Union, which it says runs counter to the principles of the rule of law and democracy. Two draft laws could widen the gap.

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