Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Polish President signs ‘Tusk Act’ over undue Russian influence

WARSAW, May 29 (Reuters) – Poland’s president said on Monday he would sign a bill allowing a committee to investigate whether the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party has allowed the country to become unduly dependent on Russia. fuel while in power.

The liberal PO, in government from 2007 to 2015, rejects the claims and says it is designed to destroy support for its leader and former prime minister, Donald Tusk, ahead of elections scheduled for October or November.

President Andrzej Duda said he would sign the bill because he believed it “must come into force,” but also said he would ask the Constitutional Tribunal to examine criticism that the law is unconstitutional.

The bill would set up a commission of inquiry that could issue an initial report in September. Opposition figures have nicknamed it Lex Tusk, using the Latin word for law.

“In a normal democratic country, someone who is the president of that country would not sign such a Stalin-esque law,” PO lawmaker Marcin Gierwinski told private broadcaster TVN 24.


Polish judges’ association Iustitia said the law violates EU values ​​and could trigger punitive measures by the EU over democratic backsliding in Poland. US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski also expressed concern.

“The U.S. government shares concerns about laws that expressly reduce the ability of voters who want to vote, outside of a clearly defined process in an independent court,” he told private broadcaster TVN24 BiS.

Recent polls show that BIS still enjoys high support among political parties – more than 30% – but it may not win enough votes to form a majority in parliament.

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The parliamentary commission will investigate the 2007-2022 period and the power to ban those who acted under Russian influence from obtaining security clearances or serving in roles responsible for public finances for 10 years, disqualifying them from public office. .

Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Poland’s dependence on Russian energy had gradually decreased.

Construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal to allow non-Russian gas imports began during Tusk’s tenure.

During Tusk’s tenure, Poland signed an agreement with Russia’s Gazprom in 2010, the bill’s official justification notes.

Top state-controlled refiner PKN Orlen ( PKN.WA ) said last month it would use Russian fuel at its Czech refineries after terminating its contract with Russia’s Tatneft in February.

Reporting by Alan Charlish, Anna Wlodarczak-Czemchuk, Anna Gober and Marek Strelecki; Editing by Robert Birsal, Barbara Lewis and Gareth Jones

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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