Salem Radio Network News Thursday, June 1, 2023


Polish opposition brands Russian influence bill as political witchhunt

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish lawmakers may vote on Friday on a bill that would create a commission to look into Russian influence in the country, in what the opposition says is a government attempt to launch a witchhunt against political opponents in an election year.

Ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) say that liberal opposition party Civic Platform (PO) allowed Poland to become dangerously dependent on Russian fossil fuels when they were in government from 2007 to 2015, raising questions about whether they were under Moscow’s sway.

PO rejects this criticism and opposition figures have labelled the bill “Lex Tusk”, saying it merely aims to eliminate PO leader and former prime minister Donald Tusk from the political scene ahead of elections scheduled for October or November.

“We want the law on the commission for examining Russian influences to come into force and for the commission to be able to work,” PiS spokesman Rafal Bochenek said on Thursday.

“If Mr Donald Tusk has something on his conscience… he should be afraid.”

The idea of forming a commission to look into Russian influence in Poland was in fact first put forward by Tusk in 2022.

The commission would investigate the period 2007-2022 and would have the power to ban people found to have acted under Russian influence from holding security clearance or working in roles where they are responsible for public funds for ten years, effectively disqualifying them from public office.

Its members would be chosen by parliament, where PiS can command a narrow majority.

Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsman Marcin Wiacek has said that the bill is unconstitutional and would mean that a public administrative body would carry out functions which should be reserved for the courts.

Poland’s upper house of parliament, the Senate, voted in favour of throwing out the bill, a position that was upheld by a parliamentary commission on Wednesday.

The bill would have to be signed by President Andrzej Duda to become law.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk)


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