Poland’s president approves Russian influence law that could target opposition


WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish President Andrzej Duda said Monday he will sign a bill that would create a powerful commission, ostensibly intended to investigate Russian influence in Poland, but which critics see as a tool to eliminate from life politics the political opponents of the government. party, especially opposition leader Donald Tusk.

Parliament approved the law on Friday, proposed by the right-wing party, which may affect the outcome of autumn parliamentary elections in which the ruling Law and Justice party is seeking a third term.

Experts say it violates Poland’s Constitution and the opposition has called on Duda to reject it.

Duda said he was passing the bill because discussions about Russia’s influence in politics are taking place in the US and some European countries. He said a commission should also be formed to investigate Russia’s influences at the European Union level.

He said that transparency in public life is crucial and stressed that Poland has good experience in public commissions investigating key social and political issues.

“This is Poland’s defense,” Duda said.

The bill will enter into force within a week of its publication.

The law would establish a state commission to investigate Russian influence in Poland and national security. He is widely seen as targeting Tusk, a former prime minister who is now the leader of the main opposition Civic Coalition, at a time when early election campaigning is underway.

Critics say the commission of inquiry, with powers to ban people from public office and to overturn administrative and business decisions, would violate citizens’ right to face an independent tribunal and is a clear example of how the law and justice have been using the law for themselves. ends since he came to power in 2015.

They see the bill, which critics have dubbed “Lex Tusk”, as an attempt to create a powerful and unconstitutional tool that would help Law and Justice continue to wield power even if it loses control of parliament in elections this fall

Partially bowing to the criticism, Duda said he was also asking the Constitutional Court to revise the bill to conform to the supreme law.

Tusk will lead a pro-democracy march in Warsaw on June 4, the anniversary of the partially free parliamentary elections in 1989 that led to the overthrow of communism.

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