Opposition party Law and Justice expels critics
PR dla Zagranicy
Zbigniew Ziobro, vice-president of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) and two other politicians, have been expelled from the party, in what could be a major fracture in the conservatives after losing successive elections.
Ziobro, Kurski, Cymański after the ruling: photo - PAP
Party spokesman Adam Hofman said that a meeting of the party's political council had voted for the motion to exclude the politicians, who have been critical of the party leadership, by “a large majority”.
Zbigniew Ziobro, a popular former justice minister within PiS, Jacek Kurski and Tadeusz Cymański are all elected members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and have called for “more democracy” in the party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski after yet another poor showing at the ballot box in the 9 October parliamentary elections.
Ziobro said the decision today was “detrimental to the right wing” and that he would appeal.
“This is a bad day for the Polish Right,” he told journalists.
The MEPs were summoned to the opposition Law and Justice chief whip’s office, Friday, in a conflict that has engulfed it following defeat on 9 October.
The expulsion of the MEPs is another fragmentation of the party set up by the Kaczynski brothers in 2001.
A group of, mostly younger generation, PiS politicians left last year to form the Poland Comes First (PJN) group – set up following the defeat of Kaczynski in the presidential elections – but which failed to gain any seats in the parliamentary elections last month.
Kaczynski – the twin brother of the late President Lech Kaczynski, who died in the Smolensk air disaster – ordered that the critical stance of the three politicians, “must be dealt with quickly and decisively” after Ziobro muted the idea that if Law and Justice can't get elected as one party then they may as well split into constituent parts – centerist and nationalist – and develop their own electorates and later form a coalition in parliament.
The comment was seen as a direct criticism of Kaczynski’s leadership.
According to the Law and Justice rule book, disruptive MPs can be “expelled [or] be prohibited from discharging their functions as Law and Justice party members for a period of 6 months to 2 years".
Zbigniew Ziobro, a former rising star in the party, has reportedly got the backing of the founder of the ultra-conservative Radio Maryja, the controversial Tadeusz Rydzyk, who is thought to be critical of Kaczynski after losing six elections since 2007. (pg)