Gov't support waning, early election possible - upper house speaker

Mateusz Marek/PAP

The government appears to have lost its public following after Thursday's passage of stricter abortion laws, and may be nearing its demise, Senate (upper house) Speaker Tomasz Grodzki said on Tuesday. Grodzki added that an early election was possible.

On Thursday the Polish Constitutional Tribunal banned abortion due to foetal damage, evoking countrywide protests. Explaining its ruling, the court said that clauses permitting the abortion of irreversbly damaged pregnancies contained in a 1993 abortion law were unconstitutional.

In response to the new regulations, protesters mounted demonstrations throughout the country, blocking traffic and holding mass gatherings in front of churches. Protests are also taking place on social media.

Commenting the situation on TV, Grodzki said the protests were "the result of what the government has cooked up." He also called the government "barbaric" for leading to such mass protests during the COVID-19 epidemic. "This was barbaric and put many at risk of unnecessary infection," the Senate speaker said.

Grodzki also said that the Polish opposition and legal experts had put the Thursday verdict in doubt, arguing that several judges ruling in the case had been illegally appointed, which made it null and void.

"The tribunal in this line-up (...) has no right to pass verdicts, because it has not been legally appointed," he pointed out.

Grodzki said anger against the government currently went beyond the abortion issue, as "people were slowly beginning to get fed up with everything."

"This government is still a government, but it seems to have lost its rule over people's hearts and minds. This is not just about the anti-abortion laws, but the battle with the epidemic, the deepening economic slump, the troubles suffered by larger and smaller enterprises. The Law and Justice government appears to be nearing its demise, and I am not sure if this will not result in an earlier election," Grodzki said.