PM denies charges regarding failed postal presidential election

"The presidential election is a constitutional duty. Its dates are set out in the Constitution," Morawiecki stated. "And the executive power, in cooperation with local government, is obliged to hold the vote." Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The Polish prime minister has denied that he broke the law during the organisation of a failed postal presidential election in May last year.

Mateusz Morawiecki's denial of any wrongdoing came just an hour after Poland’s Supreme Audit Office (NIK) announced that it had notified the prosecutor’s office of alleged offences committed by the prime minister, two ministers and his chief of staff during the organisation of the election.

"I believe that me, myself, as prime minister, the head of the PM's Office and the ministers responsible for concrete institutions acted properly in order to hold the election," Morawiecki said.

"The presidential election is a constitutional duty. Its dates are set out in the Constitution," Morawiecki stated. "And the executive power, in cooperation with local government, is obliged to hold the vote."

"If we had not tried to organise the election at that time..., we could have been surely accused by the same people which are charging us today, that we did not start preparations," he said.

According to Morawiecki, "the level of obstruction presented by local governments at that time" made it impossible to hold the election.

"And it was not held at that time but postponed by several weeks," he added. "I believe that citizens want to be sure that elections are held on constitutional dates. And this is what we did.”

Just before he spoke to the press, Marian Banaś, the NIK head said: "I would like to inform you that today the Supreme Audit Office, taking into consideration the irregularities disclosed during the inspection, is filing a notification of possible crimes committed by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Michał Dworczyk, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin, and Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński."

The case relates back to the government’s unsuccessful attempt to organise a presidential election in a postal format last May, defying the opposition's warnings that the procedure had no legal foundations.

Ultimately, the plan collapsed after one of the parties in the governing coalition declined to support it.

Despite its cancellation, the postal vote plan still cost taxpayers tens of millions of zlotys.

NIK has already notified prosecutors of possible crimes committed by the Polish Post and the Polish Security Printing Works, the two institutions that were involved in printing and distributing the ballot papers.