Poland’s PiS shuts down parliament early ahead of October 13 election
Poland’s populist Law and Justice (PiS) government has asked for parliament to be suspended until after the October 13 general election, sparking accusations that it is looking to delay unpopular legislation until after the election.
Some opposition MPs suggested PiS might be hiding bad economic news from the voters and would alter its budget after the election but before the new parliament could be sworn in.
Parliament was due to hold its final two days this week but PiS closed the session until after the general election.
The outgoing parliament is due to reconvene for two days to finish the session after the election.
Opposition parties want Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro dismissed due to an online hate campaign that was encouraged by his deputy against judges who criticised the government.
The deputy has already been fired.
The Speaker Elzbieta Witek said MPs could now focus on campaigning and said no legislation was planned for after the vote.
“We have not broken the rules, everything is in accordance with the rules,” she said. “This is not a new sitting of the Sejm. It is the same sitting that has been planned.
“You don’t do such things out of love for MPs. For sure it does not bode well,” added the prime ministerial candidate.
The far-right PiS is expected to win the election comfortably.
“PiS has some sort of hidden plan. Either they do not believe that the result of the election will be positive for them, and they want to cover themselves. Or they want to prepare some law that could not be passed in normal circumstances,” said Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, leader of the centre-right Civic Coalition, an opposition bloc.
“It does not bode well. And I do not believe Ms Witek’s claim that this is only being done for the benefit of MPs: you do not do things like this just out of love for politicians.”
PiS has been accused by the European Commission of undermining the independence of the judiciary.
But it has won support for generous welfare spending, partly fuelled by EU funding.
IBRiS conducted a poll suggesting PiS had 42.4-per-cent support.
Polling by Ben Stanley of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw estimated that PiS was on 46 per cent; the pro-EU Civic Coalition was on 29 per cent and a left-wing coalition was polling at 13 per cent.
Picture credit: Wikimedia