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Party leaders: ‘no deal’ amid Polish parliamentary crisis

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 10.01.2017 16:55
The leaders of Poland's ruling and opposition parties said on Tuesday they have failed to resolve a simmering parliamentary crisis, which has seen MPs staging a sit-in protest since mid-December.
The meeting on Tuesday was attended by all the leaders of the parties in parliament, except one. Photo: Twitter.com/Stanisław KarczewskiThe meeting on Tuesday was attended by all the leaders of the parties in parliament, except one. Photo: Twitter.com/Stanisław Karczewski

Following a meeting with Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski, Ryszard Petru, the head of the opposition Nowoczesna party, said he sees “no chance of reconciliation.”

He added that the bone of contention is a controversial vote on 16 December that was held in an ancillary hall while opposition MPs occupied the main plenary hall.

Civic Platform (PO), the opposition party which did not attend the meeting, said that its MPs would continue the protest.

The key vote on the 2017 budget was held by a show a hands mostly by deputies from the governing Law and Justice party, and was slammed as illegal by opposition parties.

“PiS believes that [the vote] was in line with the law. We still believe that it was not,” Petru said on Tuesday. He added that the governing majority does “not want to come to a compromise.”

Meanwhile, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński confirmed that “a final agreement was not reached” during the second round of meetings on Tuesday, which were attended by the leaders of the largest parties in parliament, including PiS, Nowoczesna, the Polish People’s Party (PSL), and the Kukiz’15 movement.

Grzegorz Schetyna, the head of the country’s largest opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO), declined to attend the meeting. Schetyna did not attend an earlier meeting on Monday either.

Speaking to the press following the meeting, PiS’s Kaczyńśki said that Petru "retracted his earlier proposals” and a “very significant step towards resolving the crisis” was not taken as a result.

He added that it is unlikely that a solution to the crisis will be found soon.

Kaczyński said that opposition leaders who took part in Tuesday's talks, which were boycotted by the PO chief, have confirmed that they will not disrupt the first parliamentary sitting in 2017, which is set for Wednesday.

Paweł Kukiz, the leader of the opposition Kukiz’15 movement, which has often voted in line with the government majority, said that he is “scared” by the escalation of the parliamentary dispute, and that “there is a really serious situation in the country”.

The told journalists following the Tuesday meeting that the lack of a consensus was due to Nowoczesna’s Petru “changing his mind”.

Opposition MPs have been staging a sit-in protest since the controversial vote on the budget, and have been taking turns occupying the main hall of the country’s parliament, day and night.

Members of the governing PiS party have said that this is in breach of the law, and the protest should be ended.

PiS leader Kaczyński said: “If this type of approach was adopted, we would create an bewildering system in Poland; it's hard to call it democracy, but rather anarchy... where the minority can always – by breaking all sorts of laws, because many laws have been broken – lead to a situation where decisions cannot be taken.” (rg/pk)

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