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Polish opposition calls for single currency referendum

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 19.02.2013 18:26
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of conservative opposition party Law and Justice, has called for a referendum on whether Poland should enter the eurozone.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski at this afternoon's press conference: photo - PAP/Leszek Szymanski

“I appeal to the prime minister to put aside his fears and let the question of the euro be decided by Poles in a referendum,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“I do not foresee any moment when the adoption of the euro would be advantageous for us,” he added.

Kaczynski's declaration followed a debate in Poland's lower house of parliament on prospective ratification of the EU's fiscal pact, during which Prime Minister Tusk appealed for a “positive” nationwide discussion about entering the eurozone.

The provisions of the pact would come into force from the moment Poland adopts the single currency.

As Kaczynski's party had previously indicated, Law and Justice is opposing the fiscal pact, stressing that the agreement will enhance the powers of the European Commission over the national budget.

“The fiscal pact significantly limits our sovereignty, without serving Polish interests in any way,” Kaczynski said at today's press conference.

MPs will vote on Wednesday on whether to adopt a draft law ratifying the pact.

Contrary to earlier reports that Law and Justice would not take part in the vote as a form of protest, Kaczynski said that his party would vote.

However, he said that his party would not acknowledge a normal majority, by which a bill can be passed with just one vote over the 50 percent mark.

Instead, Kaczynski argued that the fiscal pact was a special case, thus requiring a majority of two thirds.

He said that Law and Justice is prepared to take the matter to Poland's Constitutional Tribunal, a supervisory judicial body that resolves disputes in the country's laws, to insist that the draft law may only be passed by the two thirds majority.

Four parties are expected to vote in favour of the draft law, regardless.

As well as Prime Minister Tusk's centre-right Civic Platform party, coalition partner the Polish Peasants' Party, together with the Democratic Left Alliance and the liberal Palikot's Movement, have all stated that they will vote for the adoption of the fiscal pact.

These four parties represent 303 of the 460 MPs in parliament.

Besides Law and Justice, United Poland - a conservative splinter party of the former - will vote against the draft law. The parties number 155 MPs together. (nh)

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