Differences stall ruling coalition's animal protection talks
The ruling United Right (ZP) coalition has suspended talks on a proposed new animal protection law over differences between the coalition parties, Sejm (lower house) speaker Ryszard Terlecki said on Thursday.
Terlecki said the coalition, consisting of umbrella party Law and Justice (PiS) and junior partners Solidary Poland (SP) and Agreement, were in discord over the final shape of the law, which among others bans fur farming, the use of animals for entertainment and exports of ritual slaughter meat.
Terlecki said the talks, held in the form of a PiS caucus sitting and unattended by the junior coalitionists, had to be suspended over lack of unity around the new legislation.
Solidary Poland, headed by current Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, has said it will vote against the animal protection laws. Agreement, under recent Science Minister Jarosław Gowin, announced it will back the bill only if its ritual slaughter meat restrictions are dropped.
The proposed laws ban exports of ritual slaughter meat, permitting its production only for domestic use. The idea has evoked hefty protests among Polish meat producers, who say the regulations are a serious threat to their sector.
Terlecki said that PiS and United Right MPs who fail to vote according to the party's instructions will be suspended in their membership and deprived of all currently held government posts.
Asked if PiS was ready to form a minority government should the United Right alliance disintegrate over the animal law, Terlecki said the party would rather run alone in an early election.
During the bill's first reading on Wednesday, 35 PiS MPs, all of Solidary Poland and one Agreement MP voted for the bill's rejection. As a result of which it was sent to the Sejm (lower house) agriculture committee.
Government spokesperson Piotr Mueller said on Thursday that PiS was ready to continue the United Right government, but observed that "a coalition entails partnership."
A further vote on the bill could take place on Thursday evening.