Polish PM's office faces possible criminal charges over failed vote

The Prime Minister's Office is facing criminal investigation into last year's attempt to hold a presidential election by postal vote owing to a lack of legal justification, the country's audit office has announced.

"There were no legal foundations for the prime minister to issue any orders related to the execution of the election," Bogdan Skwarka, a director at the Supreme Audit Office (NIK), told a press conference on Thursday.

NIK controls the functioning of Poland's government and administrative bodies.

Skwarka also said that the prime minister had received expert opinions from his office and the Treasury Solicitor's Office about the lack of legal grounds to hold a postal vote, but still he went ahead with the preparations for the elections by ordering the Polish Post Office and the Polish Security Printing Works to print the ballots and plan their distribution.

According to media reports, the failed presidential elections, which were to be held in May 2020, cost Polish taxpayers tens of millions of zlotys.

In response to NIK's accusations, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying that all the preparations for the presidential elections had been legal and that both the prime minister and his Office head were protecting Poland's constitution.