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US 'concerned' over 'potential use of new Polish legislation to target opposition': State Dept.

30.05.2023 07:30
A US State Department spokesman has said that Washington is concerned that a new Polish law setting up a commission to investigate Russian influence in the country could be used to interfere with Poland’s free and fair elections.
Image by Circ OD from Pixabay
Image by Circ OD from Pixabay Pixabay License

"The U.S. Government is concerned by the Polish government’s passage of new legislation that could be misused to interfere with Poland’s free and fair elections," US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement on Monday.

"We share the concerns expressed by many observers that this law to create a commission to investigate Russian influence could be used to block the candidacy of opposition politicians without due process," he added.

"We call on the government of Poland to ensure this law does not preempt voters’ ability to vote for candidate of their choice and that it not be invoked or abused in ways that could affect the perceived legitimacy of elections," the statement also said.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda announced on Monday that he had decided to sign a disputed measure calling for the establishment of a state commission to investigate alleged Russian influence in Polish politics.

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."

Duda also said on Monday that he was sending the law to the country's Constitutional Tribunal "so it could assess those of its provisions that have raised concerns.”

Polish opposition politicians have slammed the planned probe, saying it is 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.

Meanwhile, the country's governing conservatives have denied that the inquiry is designed to target the opposition.

They 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.

Ruling party spokesman Rafał Bochenek told reporters on Monday that “the proceedings of the state commission … will be supervised by the courts, and if the commission’s decisions are appealed against, they will require a final ruling by the administrative court to be valid.”


Source: PAPstate.gov