Polish Senate passes 2017 budget
PR dla Zagranicy
The Polish Senate, the upper house of parliament, on Wednesday passed a controversial bill on the 2017 budget.
Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski
The bill will now be sent to Polish President Andrzej Duda.
The budget bill was in December voted through by the lower house in a ballot the opposition has called “illegal”. But members of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party have insisted that there were no irregularities in the vote.
A total of 59 senators voted for, with two voting against the budget bill. No one abstained from the vote.
The 2017 budget bill is at a centre of a parliamentary crisis in Poland, which has seen opposition MPs staging a sit-in protest in the plenary hall of the lower house since 16 December.
A parliamentary sitting set for Wednesday at 12pm was postponed, and had not started at the time of writing.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Senate vote, Ryszard Petru, head of the opposition Nowoczesna party, which has been taking part in the protest in parliament, said: “If the Senate adopts the 2017 budget without amendment, we have a continuation of the conflict and a deepening of the crisis.”
Addressing a press conference following the vote, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said that the budget was passed, adding that this “was the most important development”.
He thanked senators for voting through the budget, and said that the parliamentary sitting in the lower house would start in “two or three hours”.
Meanwhile a group of protesters led by the anti-government KOD movement gathered outside the parliament building in Warsaw.
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