Opposition parties want to fire agriculture minister

Opposition parties will support a motion for the dismissal of Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk announced on Saturday by the Polish People's Party (PSL), an agrarian opposition grouping.

Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, the PSL leader, said on Saturday the move was due to Kowalczyk "cheating Polish rural areas and misleading farmers."

At a meeting with the residents of Busko-Zdroj in southern Poland, Kosiniak-Kamysz referred to a protest during an agricultural fair attended by Kowalczyk in the central city of Kielce on Friday, when farmers tried to disrupt the event.

He said the protest was a sign of despair among rural people at what is happening in the Polish countryside.

The PSL leader said the motion to remove Kowalczyk would be filed after the weekend, in part on grounds of "missed opportunities, the lack of EU money, for letting in Ukrainian grain, for the low prices of grain, high prices of fertilisers," as well as for the closure of 120,000 livestock farms and the uncontrolled spread of African Swine Fever, among other complaints.

The Civic Coalition (KO), the Left, the Confederation and Poland 2050 announced on Sunday that they would support the PSL motion.

KO MP Mariusz Witczak told a Polsat News private television programme that "all the charges against Kowalczyk are justified," and added that the opposition had always cooperated while voting motions of no confidence.

Krzysztof Gawkowski, the head of the Left parliamentary caucus, said that if Kowalczyk did not resign, his party would surely support his dismissal.

Confederation and Poland 2050 MPs also declared their support.

"We will surely manage to defend our minister," Radoslaw Fogiel from the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party said during the same TV programme. "All the charges against Kowalczyk are trumped up," he added. 

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