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President hints he may veto new rules on how Poland elects MEPs

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 09.08.2018 12:00
Poland’s president has signalled he may veto new rules passed by parliament on how his country will elect its members of the European Parliament next year.
President Andrzej Duda. Photo: KPRPPresident Andrzej Duda. Photo: KPRP

Andrzej Duda was on Wednesday quoted as saying in an interview that he was “strongly inclined to block” legislation sponsored by Poland’s ruling conservatives aiming to change the way in which the country chooses its MEPs in elections scheduled for May 26 next year.

Under the new rules, which were approved by parliament on July 27, Polish voters would elect at least three MEPs in each electoral district, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

Previous regulations did not specify how many MEPs would be elected in each district, IAR said.

Duda told the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily in the interview that he had “huge doubts about whether this [new legislation] should become part of the Polish legal system.”

He added: “I do not see the need for such a fundamental restriction of access to the European Parliament."

Critics of the new regulations have argued that the changes would in practice raise the election threshold and prevent smaller parties from securing seats in the European Parliament.

“In practice, this eliminates smaller groups. Some part of Polish society will have a sense of being deprived of representation in the European Parliament,” Duda said in the interview, excerpts of which appeared on the newspaper’s online edition on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a MEP for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Ryszard Czarnecki, told Polish Radio on Thursday that he was hoping the president would “accept the decision of the parliamentary majority” and sign the bill into law.

Czarnecki, a former vice-president of the European Parliament, argued that the electoral amendment passed by Poland’s parliament was beneficial to voters.

The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the 28-nation European Union, of which Poland has been a member since 2004.

The president has 21 days to make a decision about the new legislation, with the clock ticking from July 27, IAR reported.


Source: PAP/IAR

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