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Poland suspends Parliament, opposition cries foul

Warsaw, Poland – Suspending Parliament appears to be fashionable again: after the British political scene was rocked by PM Boris Johnson’s decision to put the legislative body’s work on hold a few weeks ahead of the planned date for Brexit, Poland has followed suit, although for completely different reasons.

The Parliament has been suspended yesterday, until right after the election scheduled in Poland for October 13, its speaker announced, taking everyone by surprise.

The current parliamentary session was due to end on Friday. But the move to suspend Parliament until right after the October national election ensures the outgoing parliament to reconvene for a short period of time after the election until the new lawmakers officially take their seat.

This unprecedented situation, the first time under democracy that Poland’s outgoing lawmakers reconvene after an election according to the Associated Press, enables the ruling Law and Justice party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, which holds a majority in the current legislature, to pass through bills after the election – even if it loses the ballot.

“We have a one-day session today, we announce a break and we continue [this session] on October 15 and 16. This is nothing extraordinary”, said Elzbieta Witek, a PiS MP who became speaker of the lower house after the previous one was forced to resign a few weeks ago.

The ruling nationalist party argued that the move to suspend Parliament was to enable lawmakers to focus on their election campaigning.

But opposition parties and lawmakers have accused the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party of planning to push through secret or potentially unpopular bills during those two days.

“It means that PiS has some kind of hidden plan – it either does not believe the election result will be positive for them and wants to play safe, or it wants to prepare some draft law, which could not have been adopted under normal conditions”, opposition politician and Civic Coalition’s candidate for Prime Minister Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska said. “You don’t do such things out of love for the lawmakers”, she added.

“Do they want to introduce some changes just after the election, about which they don’t want to say a word ahead of the election because it may influence their result?” asked leader of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz.

Borys Budka from the Civic Coalition also suggested Law and Justice could use the extra two days to amend its budget proposal, “perhaps by dropping all [their] promises which cannot be fulfilled?”

According to all the recent polls, the ruling PiS party keeps a comfortable lead on the opposition and appears to be on track to win the October 13 election.

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