Why Criminal Cases Being Prepared in Poland against Current Government

Tuesday, 5 December 2023

The future Polish government is preparing to fulfil its promises, including to hold predecessors accountable.

The new parliamentary majority has introduced three resolutions to the Sejm regarding the creation of parliamentary investigative commissions. According to Marshal of the Sejm Szymon Hołownia, one of them could be launched this year.

Read more about what this may mean and who in Poland's politics is at risk of criminal prosecution in the article by Stanislav Zhelikhovskyi, PhD in political science and international expert – Hunting for Kaczyński: How Poland's new government wants to punish its predecessors.

The new government did not hesitate to settle scores with the predecessors from Law and Justice (PiS). Even before forming its government, Donald Tusk announced the creation of three investigative commissions.

The investigative commissions will be created in accordance with the 1999 law, which grants MPs prosecutorial powers.

Among the most serious candidates for commission members are Michał Szczerba and Dariusz Joński with impressive experience as investigators.

Szczerba has announced the further course of events. According to him, representatives of the former government will sooner or later be held accountable.

When asked if PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczyński would testify before the investigative committees, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, without a moment's hesitation, promisingly replied that "a witness is a rather soft term."

The first committee is to start work on the so-called envelope elections.

This refers to an attempt to conduct the 2020 presidential elections, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, by mail. It was crucial for the luring party not to postpone these elections, as the ratings of the incumbent President Andrzej Duda were falling, along with the likelihood of his re-election.

"No prime minister has ever thought of organising elections not by the State Electoral Commission but by 'Polish Post,'" MP Dariusz Joński said.

According to him, both constitutionalists and the Polish Supreme Audit Office, which appealed to the prosecutor's office in this matter, consider that the constitution was violated.

So the commission is to verify the legality, correctness, and purposefulness of actions taken in the preparation and conduct of the 2020 presidential elections by mail voting.

Parliamentary investigations into abuses with the Pegasus system and the so-called visa scandal are expected to begin by the end of the year.

The Pegasus committee is to establish the fact of eavesdropping on the opposition and, if necessary, identify those who gave such instructions to Polish special services.

Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro and former CBA head Ernest Bejda are under suspicion regarding the Pegasus system.

In turn, the committee on the visa scandal is to investigate the legitimacy of the actions of state authorities regarding the revealed facts of mass violations in issuing Polish visas to citizens of Asian and African countries.

It is reported that this case will not involve too many high-profile names. Mainly those related to diplomacy will be featured: former Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau and his deputy Piotr Wawrzyk.

The announced investigative procedures may fundamentally change the country's political landscape.

The consequences of these actions could be the marginalisation of PiS and a sharp increase in the already considerable tension within the country.

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