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Ruling party liberal and conservative wings at war over civil partnerships

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 22.02.2013 10:28
A leading conservative has said PM Tusk has not 'given an ultimatum' that if a compromise over civil partnerships is not found then he and others would have to leave the ruling Civic Platform.

Jaroslaw Gowin on Wednesday before stormy meeting: photo - PAP/Leszek Szymanski

“There is no ultimatum on civil partnerships,” Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin has told Polish Radio after reports on Wednesday of a stormy meeting of the centre-right Civic Platform party, where liberals clashed with conservatives over finding a compromise over civic partnerships.

Jaroslaw Gowin has led opposition to bills put forward by the more liberal wing of the ruling party on the issue.

Forty six Civic Platform MPs voted against a government bill to establish civil partnerships for hetro and homosexual couples when put before the lower house of parliament (Sejm) in January.

Minister Gowin admitted Friday morning that there had been a "hard, masculine conversation that was needed to clear the air” on civil partnerships at the party meeting this week but that he and other conservative members of Civic Platform were not considering leaving the party.

Gowin would not give more details on the meeting, however.

"I'm not one of those politicians who reveal details of internal meetings," he told the PAP news agency, though it is thought that his supporters would prefer that two bills, liberal and conservative, are put before parliament by the governing party.

According to John Godson, a Nigerian-born conservative member of Civic Platform, Prime Minister Tusk said at Wednesday's meeting that "he would prefer that there was one common project [put forward by Civic Platform] but he also said that if that fails then he is open to two projects."

The split in Civic Platform, in power for five years after two elections victories, could be hitting the popularity ratings of the government.

According to a survey by the TNS Polska pollster, only one-in-four respondents have a positive opinion on the work of the ruling coalition with and 66 percent critical of the government.

Fifty nine percent criticise Prime Minister Donald Tusk personally, with 30 percent of respondents praising his work.

The survey was carried out between 8 and 11 February on a representative sample of 1, 000. (pg/mk)

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