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Polish President considering signing 2017 budget bill

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 28.12.2016 17:32
Poland’s President has said he will make a decision over whether to sign a controversial bill about next year’s budget once he receives a report from the parliamentary Speaker.
Polish president Andrzej Duda. Photo: Prezydent.plPolish president Andrzej Duda. Photo: Prezydent.pl

Opposition MPs have been staging a sit-in protest in parliament's plenary hall since 16 December, when MPs from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, and a handful of opposition MPs voted through the budget bill.

The protesting parties have called the vote illegal, while PiS says that both the decision to hold the vote in an ancillary room, and the vote itself, were in line with regulations. They have also denied that there is any reason to repeat the vote.

Duda, who is aligned with PiS, has offered to mediate between opposition parties -particularly Civic Platform (PO) and Nowoczesna - and the governing PiS, which holds a majority in parliament.

The President has asked the Speaker to supply him with a report about whether a quorum was reached, and whether all opposition MPs were allowed into the hall during voting. The protesting parties say that neither of these regulations was adhered to during the vote.

Speaking to the Gazeta Polska weekly, Duda said that his office will closely analyse the documents sent in by the Speaker, and will act accordingly.

“I myself am a lawyer, I have access to specialists from the legal department of the President’s Office. These procedures will be studied in detail,” Duda said.

Meanwhile, the Kukiz’15 movement, Poland’s second largest opposition party, has said that it is “ready to mediate” between PO-Nowoczesna and PiS.

Kukiz’15 officials added that: “both parties must, however, express such a wish and take a step back”.

MPs from the party are the only opposition deputies not to protest in parliament.

In a separate development, PO said on Wednesday that it has lodged a formal request to Speaker Marek Kuchćiński to supply CCTV recording from vote.

Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the PiS party which came to power in October 2015, recently compared the protest by the opposition to a “coup”.

“You have to be blunt: it was a coup attempt. Signs of such an attempt to seize power had reached us in advance,” Kaczyński told the wSieci weekly. (rg)

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