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Polish ruling party suspends 15 rebel MPs amid warning of early elections

18.09.2020 16:17
Fifteen rebel MPs from Poland’s governing conservative Law and Justice were suspended as party members on Friday amid a political crisis that officials said could result in early elections.
Suspended: Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski.
Suspended: Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski. Photo: PAP/Marcin Gadomski

The biggest opposition party, meanwhile, said it was trying to put together a parliamentary majority and also preparing for a possible early ballot.

Law and Justice (PiS) has suspended 15 lawmakers, including Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, who broke party discipline to vote against an animal rights bill strongly backed by the grouping’s leader.

Row in ruling coalition

The vote also saw tensions coming to a boil between three conservative parties which have together ruled Poland for five years.

Recriminations started flying around after some politicians from the junior partners in the ruling coalition refused to support a bill to ban fur farming and the production of halal and kosher meat for export.

Ryszard Terlecki from Law and Justice, the senior coalition partner, warned that a minority government or early elections in Poland could not be ruled out.

Terlecki, a deputy Speaker of the lower house of parliament, said: "At the moment the situation is such that the coalition is practically non-existent.”

He added that if early elections were held, his Law and Justice party would contest them alone.

Law and Justice, allied with two smaller groupings in a United Right coalition, secured a second term in power in a parliamentary ballot on October 13.

The three partners have recently been trying to hammer out a new coalition agreement and decide on the allocation of ministerial posts in a long-expected government reshuffle. The talks have now been halted.

Terlecki said top Law and Justice officials would meet on Monday to decide what to do next.

‘We expect a clear declaration’

Meanwhile, Borys Budka, head of the Civic Platform, Poland’s biggest opposition party, said on Friday his grouping was starting “wide-ranging” talks in an attempt to put together a parliamentary majority, “as well as preparing for the possibility of early elections.”

Borys Budka, head the opposition Civic Platform party. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański
Borys Budka, head the opposition Civic Platform party. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

He added: "Today we are prepared for any possibility, but we expect a clear declaration from PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński about whether he is able to form a parliamentary majority and deal with the real problems of Poles, or whether he… wants early elections to take place."

The United Right coalition, which is headed by Law and Justice and also comprises the strongly conservative Solidarna Polska party and the Porozumienie (Agreement) grouping, has ruled Poland since winning a landslide in a 2015 parliamentary election.


Source: PAP