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Polish president greenlights Russian influence probe

29.05.2023 11:00
Poland's President Andrzej Duda announced on Monday that he had decided to sign a disputed measure calling for the establishment of a special panel to investigate alleged Russian influence in Polish politics.
Polish President Andrzej Duda
Polish President Andrzej DudaPhoto: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Duda approved the bill, proposed by the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, after it passed parliament on Friday on a final vote of 234 to 219, with one abstention, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The president, who is an ally of Poland's conservative government, told reporters that he had "no doubt that the issue of Russian influence needs explaining."

Under the law signed by Duda, the proposed state commission to investigate "Russian influence in Poland" will "review administrative decisions, processes behind the creation, copying and sharing of information with third parties, and the management of public funds, among other areas," according to officials. 

The panel will also investigate measures taken to influence administrative decisions and the processes behind harmful policy decisions, the PAP news agency reported.

The commission’s powers will include the right to cancel administrative decisions "taken as a result of Russian influences," and it will also be able to ban officials from holding positions involving the management of public funds for up to 10 years, according to reports.

'A call for truth'

Polish opposition politicians said last week that the proposed probe was specifically targeted at former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is the leader of the country's largest opposition grouping, the Civic Coalition, ahead of parliamentary elections in the autumn.

Ahead of Friday's parliamentary vote, MPs held a stormy debate during which the Civic Coalition’s Borys Budka called the draft law “a disgraceful and Bolshevik bill.”

Lawmakers with the opposition Third Way alliance, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz and Paulina Hennig-Kloska, slammed the proposed panel as “a kangaroo court against the opposition” and called on the president to veto the legislation, according to the PAP news agency.

Meanwhile, conservative MP Łukasz Schreiber told the house on Friday that the inquiry was "not designed to target anyone" but represented "a call for truth, a call for us to respect and strengthen the constitution and sovereignty."

The governing conservatives have accused Tusk of having been too friendly toward Russia as prime minister from 2007 to 2014 and of making gas deals favourable to Moscow before he went on to become the president of the European Council, a top EU job that he held until 2019Britain's The Independent newspaper has reported.

Monday is day 460 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info