Governing party to introduce changes to vote-counting process

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party plans to change the way votes are counted in elections, a senior party official has said.

Krzysztof Sobolewski, the PiS secretary general, told Radio Plus on Monday that PiS wants to introduce changes so that the vote-counting process could be "as transparent as possible."

Jarosław Kaczyński, the PiS leader, has recently called for tighter election laws, claiming the opposition could rig elections under the current system.

According to planned modifications, the chairman of the election commission would show each vote to the entire commission and it would record who the vote was for and if the vote was valid. "This is how it is done in Great Britain and other countries," he said.

Sobolewski added that the new method of counting votes "will probably take a little more time," but said the process would be more transparent than the one used now whereby ballots are divided, then counted up separately by committee members and finally compiled.

When asked if this would be the only change introduced, he replied that this would be one such alteration and others would likely be "cosmetic."

A bill outlining the changes would be submitted "within a few weeks," he pointed out.

But Donald Tusk, leader of the main opposition party, the centrist Civic Platform (PO), sharply criticised the ruling party's plans.

"Jarosław Kaczyński has said that they have to change the vote-counting system and must introduce protection for elections so that votes are counted differently and their people can check it - and he's saying this after his seven-year-long rule," Tusk said on Monday.

"I don't even want to count how many elections have been held in Poland under his rule," Tusk continued. "If we were to treat seriously what he said, then he could have more or less said that during the time when PiS has been in government elections have been rigged, elections have been unfair, someone has meddled with the election and if he's saying so, he must know something."

Tusk also commented on Kaczyński's recent claim that "fair elections will be won by us".

"A claim that PiS will win any elections, but only if they are fair, and it will be fair if the vote-counting system is changed - this sounds like a joke about (Belarusian strongman Aleksander - PAP) Lukashenko," Tusk said.