Duda vetoes PiS Cold War bill
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has sparked another row within the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) when he vetoed a law which would have allowed Cold War-era military commanders to be stripped of their rank.
Duda, who was selected by PIS, said the bill was unfair as it would not have allowed the demoted senior officers, many of whom are dead, to defend themselves.
“It was certainly a violation of democratic standards of the state,” Duda said.
PiS, which claims Poland is still dominated by Soviet-era establishment, was “surprised and disappointed”, the party’s spokeswoman Beata Mazurek said.
The proposed law would have allowed communist-era generals and commanders to be reduced to private.
Duda said the bill would target all former members of the shady Military Council of National Salvation (WRON), which imposed martial law in Poland in 1981.
The repressive crackdown (pictured) imposed by leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski in 1981 led to the deaths of around 100 dissidents.
But the president said not all council members played an active role in the decisions.
General Miroslaw Hermaszewski, 76, Poland’s only astronaut, was mentioned as an example. The national hero was appointed to the council in 1981 without his knowledge or consent and discharged two weeks later.
Duda faces re-election in 2020 and his PiS allies are suffering a drastic drop in popularity.
Support for PiS fell 12 percentage points over one month, according to a poll last week.
“One has to remember that a president who wants to win in the first or second round has to win many more votes than the ruling party in a general election,” said Rafal Chwedoruk of Warsaw University.
“A recent poll has shown that the vast majority of Poles are against demoting generals. … The majority of PiS voters from villages and small towns accepted the decision on imposing martial law,” said the political scientist.
Food going to waste was an increasingly significant problem in Europe, said Poland’s Deputy Environment Minister Sławomir Mazurek.
He announced a three-year €2.6 million project run by the Federation of Polish Food Banks and the Environmental Protection Institute.
The project aims to research Polish food waste, educate consumers and propose legal changes to help combat the issue.
Marek Borowski of the federation said the average Polish family of four wasted almost €600 worth of food annually.
Poland in 1981. Picture credit: Wikimedia