Polish MPs vote through contested changes to electoral law
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland’s MPs have voted through contested changes to the country’s electoral law and to rules on how local government functions.
Polish MPs vote through changes to the country’s electoral law and to rules regulating the functioning of local government late on Thursday. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński
The legislation ushering in the changes had been drafted by Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
The opposition claims PiS is seeking to boost its performance at the ballot box, but Law and Justice has said it aims to make voting more transparent and provide stronger guarantees that elections are fair.
The new rules change the way in which members of the State Election Commission (PKW), which conducts and oversees elections, are selected. Seven of the commission’s nine members will be elected by the lower house of parliament, or the Sejm, where PiS has a majority.
Until now, the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Administrative Court each delegated three judges to work in the commission.
The rules approved by deputies also do away with postal voting and abolish single-member constituencies in districts with more than 20,000 residents.
The new law also limits to two the number of terms that can be served by local government officials such as mayors as of next year's local government elections.
During their nearly four-hour debate late on Thursday, the lawmakers considered more than 300 amendments, including a number of last-minute modifications to the original draft.
The law now goes to the upper house, the Senate, for further debate.
Source: IAR, PAP