Polish lawmakers on Friday passed a bill to investigate Russian influence in the country, which the opposition says is a targeted attempt to influence next year’s elections.
The law creates a commission to investigate alleged Russian influence from 2007 to 2022.
Those who acted under Russian influence will be barred from holding positions in which they are responsible for public funds for 10 years – thus barred from holding public office – as well as positions that require a security clearance.
The new law was pushed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which says the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party allowed Poland to become dangerously dependent on Russian fossil fuels when its former leader Donald Tusk served as prime minister from 2007 until 2014. .
“We want the law on the Russian Antiquities Review Committee to enter into force and for the committee to be able to function,” Law and Justice party spokesman Rafal Pushnik said before the vote.
“If Mr. Donald Tusk has anything on his conscience… he should be afraid.”
The opposition criticizes the political “witch hunt”.
The investigations will be conducted by a committee chosen by Parliament, with the Law and Justice party having a slim majority.
Workers’ Party leader Krzysztof Brygza said the new law is “a Soviet-style idea that stems from the mentality of (Law and Justice chief) Jaroslav Kaczynski and the witch-hunt attempt to exclude Donald Tusk” from Polish politics.
Tusk, who is no longer an MP but is the chairman of the PO party, was present in the room during the vote.
He described those who voted for the law as “cowards” who “violated good parliamentary morals and basic principles of democracy, out of fear of losing their power, out of fear of the people, out of fear of responsibility (they have to face it). After losing the elections.”
Tusk said the opposition had a strategy of engaging with the commission and called on Poles to join him at pro-democracy rallies on June 4, the anniversary of the partially free 1989 elections that removed the Communists from power in Poland.
Slomir Patera, a constitution expert at Marie Sklodowska Curie University in Lublin, told AFP the legislation contains a vague definition of Russian influence and is vulnerable to abuse.
“This system violates all constitutional foundations,” he said.
zc/wd (AFP, Reuters)