President Duda rejects proposed changes to EP elections law

Andrzej Duda said he would veto a law proposed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party that would benefit bigger parties. Jacek Turczyk

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday vetoed a bill which would have changed the rules for elections to the European Parliament.

"I am refusing to sign it (the bill)," the president announced, "and I am referring it back to the Sejm (lower house of parliament) for reconsideration, for several reasons."

According to Duda, the legislative proposal, recently adopted by Parliament, "diverges absolutely too far" from the principle of proportionality in elections.

"In our electoral law," the head of state explained, "as well as in the act regarding the election of members to the European Parliament adopted by the (European) Council, that is, in an act of European law, there is a clearly set threshold of 5 percent when it comes to access to the European Parliament."

"A grouping must receive at least 5 percent of votes in the elections, to be able to gain a seat in elections to the EP," the president said.

By contrast, under the bill, "the effective electoral threshold would be at least between 11 and 19 percent," Duda noted, "which would mean that in Poland today, only two groupings have a practical chance to gain serious representation in the EP."