Conflict over animal bill vote only a catalyst - ruling party official

Head of the Law and Justice (PiS) Executive Committee Krzysztof Sobolewski has told PAP that the conflict in the United Right was not the result of the amended animal protection bill but was rather 'a catalyst or a litmus paper' of the current situation in the coalition.

Sobolewski stated that this was a warning that showed how PiS coalition partners may behave in the future.

Referring to coalition talks, Sobolewski stated that there was a reason for why negotiations between PiS, Solidary Poland and Agreement regarding a new coalition deal went on for so long. "During the talks, our coalition partners had excessive demands," he said.

Asked about the future of the United Right coalition, Sobolewski answered that various scenarios were being taken into account. "We are ready for a minority cabinet or for an early election. A final decision will be taken by the party leadership," he said.

On Friday evening, Sobolewski announced that, in all, 15 PiS members had been suspended for voting against new animal protection laws.

Earlier Sobolewski announced the suspension of 14 party members, including Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski and Henryk Kowalczyk, an MP and former minister, under a decision by PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

All those suspended voted against the PiS-authored animal law amendments.

On Thursday night, the Sejm passed the amendments in a 356 to 75 vote with 18 abstentions. They will now be passed on to the Senate (upper house) for further debate.

Out of 229 members of the ruling United Right coalition comprising PiS and the Solidary Poland and Agreement parties, 176 PiS MPs supported the amended bill. In all, 38 PiS caucus members voted against, including all MPs of Solidary Poland, a junior member of the ruling United Right coalition, and two members of the Agreement, another junior member of the ruling coalition. Fifteen Agreement members abstained from voting. Minister Ardanowski was among those voting against.