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Polish president offers to mediate in parliamentary crisis

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 17.12.2016 17:40
Polish President Andrzej Duda has voiced concern about events in parliament on Friday, in the midst of a crisis in which opposition MPs are staging a sit-in protest in the building.
Polish President Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel Polish President Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

"I watched yesterday's events in the Polish Sejm with concern and anxiety,” Duda wrote in a statement published some 24 hours after opposition MPs blocked the parliament’s rostrum, delaying a key vote on Friday.

“I would like to appeal to all sides of the political spectrum to calm tensions, so that the parliament's work takes place smoothly, in a civilised manner and with due seriousness – in line with the principles of parliamentary democracy,” Duda wrote.

He also offered to “mediate in this matter” in order to help find a solution to the crisis, which some experts are calling a landmark event in recent Polish history.

Former NATO Secretary General and the EU's High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy, Javier Solana, said the events in Poland mark “the most important crisis in years”.

Opposition MPs who are protesting inside the parliament buiding as well as participants of rallies on Friday and Saturday voiced their disapproval of a planned tightening of media access to parliament, restricting most TV journalists to a separate space a short distance away from the main building. The new regulations are set to come into force on 1 January.

PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said the new rules would be similar to those in many other parliaments around the world.

On Saturday, media reports said that parliamentary Speaker Marek Kuchciński, a member of the ruling PiS party, had cancelled all press passes for all journalists, barring them from entering parliament.

According to the PAP news agency, Kaczyński has called on Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski to organise an urgent meeting with the press to discuss future media rules. (rg/pk)

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