Opposition calls on PM to resign over failed postal vote
Poland's main opposition party Civic Coalition has called on Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to resign over an apparently illegal attempt by the government to hold a presidential election by postal vote last year.
"A crime was committed, the actions of the then authorities were illegal, over 70 million zlotys were thrown down the drain,” Civic Platform (KO) leader Borys Budka said on Thursday. “These were the decisions of both Prime Minister Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin."
The call follows the publication on Thursday of a report by the Supreme Audit Office (NIK), which controls the functioning of Poland's government and administrative bodies, on the preparations for the postal vote. The election had been due to take place on May 10, 2020 but was later cancelled owing to the pandemic despite around PLN 76 million being spent on preparations.
According to NIK, there were no legal grounds for the Prime Minister to order the Polish Post Office and the Polish Security Printing Works (PWPW) to print the ballots and plan their distribution. The audit office has notified the prosecutor's office of suspected crimes by the management boards of Poczta Polska and PWPW.
Continuing the attack on the government, Cezary Tomczyk, the head of the Civic Coalition caucus, asked when Morawiecki would be dismissed.
"For the first time in the history of free Poland, elections did not take place, although they were ordered,” he said. “It was (the ruling party - PAP) Law and Justice that paralysed the state bodies by taking away the possibility of organising elections from Poland's State Electoral Commission. Someone has to answer for this situation.".
In response to the opposition’s offensive, the government spokesperson said all the decisions regarding the planned May 10 vote were legal and the prime minister and the head of his Office were protecting Poland's constitution.
"The prime minister and the head of the Prime Minister's Office acted in accordance with the law, they also guarded the implementation of the constitutional provisions, which control the date when presidential elections should be held," Piotr Muller told a press conference.
He said that the purpose of the measures adopted at that time by the government was to enable people who faced a particular risk due to the coronavirus pandemic to take part in the vote.
Muller also said that Poczta Polska and PWPW were obliged to start the preparations for the election in accordance with the legally issued decisions by the prime minister.