The Polish President signs the “Tusk Act” on undue Russian influence

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s president said on Monday he would sign a bill to allow a commission to investigate whether the opposition Civic Platform party has allowed the country to be unduly influenced by Russia and as a result is too dependent on her country. fuel when he was in power.

The Liberal Labor Party, in government from 2007 to 2015, rejects the allegations and says the law is designed to destroy support for its leader and former prime minister Donald Tusk ahead of elections due in October or November.

President Andrzej Duda said he would sign the law because he believed it “should come into force” but also said he would ask the Constitutional Court to examine criticism that the legislation is unconstitutional.

The bill provides for the formation of an investigation committee that could submit a preliminary report in September. Opposition figures called it lex tusk, using the Latin word for law.

“In a normal democratic country, someone at the head of this country will not sign such a law as Stalin,” MP Marcin Kerwinsky told private TV station TVN 24.

Fears

The Polish Association of Judges Iustitia said the law violated EU values ​​and could prompt more punitive measures in the EU over Poland’s democratic backsliding. The US ambassador to Poland, Mark Brzezinski, also expressed concerns.

“The US government shares its concerns about laws that may ostensibly reduce the ability of voters to vote for whom they want to vote for, outside of a clearly defined process in an independent court,” he told TVN24 BiS’s TVN24 BiS.

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Recent polls show that Law and Justice still has the highest support among political parties – more than 30% – but it may not win enough votes to command a majority in Parliament.

The parliamentary committee will investigate in 2007-2022 and have the power to prevent people found to have acted under Russian influence from obtaining security clearance or serving in roles where they will be responsible for public funds for 10 years, effectively disqualifying them from public office.

Poland’s dependence on Russian energy has been gradually declining, even before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Construction of the LNG import terminal, which allows imports of non-Russian gas, began when Tusk was in power.

Also during Tusk’s tenure in office, Poland signed a deal with Russia’s Gazprom in 2010, which the official justification for the bill mentions.

PKN Orlen, the largest state-controlled refiner, said last month that it had ended its contract with Russia’s Tatneft after supplies were cut off in February, but was still using Russian fuel in its Czech refineries.

(Reporting by Alan Sharlich, Anna Wlodarzak-Simczuk, Anna Cooper and Marek Strzelecki); Editing by Robert Purcell, Barbara Lewis and Gareth Jones

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