Opposition suspends sit-in protest in Parliament

Opposition suspends sit-in protest in Parliament

Poland’s main opposition party Civic Platform (PO) stopped blocking the rostrum and decided to discontinue occupying the plenary room in the lower house Sejm, but motioned for the dismissal of Sejm Speaker Marek Kuchcinski, PO leader Grzegorz Schetyna said on Thursday.

 

Schetyna said that wrongdoings of Kuchcinski, his mistakes and bad organization of the lower house’s work have lead to a nearly 30-day-long parliamentary and political crisis.

 

Sejm reconvened in the afternoon only for Kuchcinski to announce a break in the sitting until January 25, citing the need to conduct "a deeper analysis" of the recent events in parliament. 

 

"In view of the fact that this situation has caused some turbulence, I have decided that a deeper analysis is needed of the situation and everything that occurred over the past few weeks in the Polish Sejm", Kuchcinski said, adding that he was ordering a break in the proceedings until 9 a.m. on January 25.

 

The crisis started in on Dec. 16 when opposition MPs began their sit-in protest after the exclusion of a Civic Platform (PO) MP from the debate by the house speaker amid a heated exchange over planned restrictions on media coverage in parliament. 

 

The debate was moved to a side room, where the budget was eventually passed by lawmakers from Law and Justice (PiS) that holds an outright majority in parliament. Media were blocked from recording the budget vote and electronic vote counting was unavailable. The opposition had called for a repeat of the third reading of the bill and the contested vote. In their view, the original vote on December 16 lacked quorum. 

 

The 2017 budget bill will not return to the lower house, as it was passed by the Senate on Wednesday and will now go straight to the president. On Thursday, PO appealed to President Andrzej Duda to refrain from signing the controversial bill, Schetyna said.

 

Liberal party Nowoczesna, in turn, will file a motion to the Constitutional Tribunal to inquire whether the adoption of the 2017 budget bill in the lower house was legal, Nowoczesna leader Ryszard Petru said.

 

 

The Warszaw Voice

 

 

18.01.2017

 

 

 
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