Spokesman defends ruling party leader's comments on women's alcoholism
The Polish government's spokesperson has defended Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, for suggesting that young women were not having children because they drank too much.
On Saturday, Kaczynski talked about young women's drinking in terms of their future motherhood, saying at one point that "if they hit the bottle up to the age of 25 - I'm joking a bit - but it's not a good prognosis in these matters."
He went on to say a man had to drink heavily for 20 years in order to become an alcoholic but for a woman it only took two. Kaczynski added that his party would undertake measures to increase the birth rate, as if young women continued to drink at the current rate, "there will be no children."
Kaczynski’s comments provoked a storm of criticism on social media with many accusing him of being ill-informed and out of touch.
Asked by private TV broadcaster Polsat News on Monday evening whether he agreed with Kaczynski's opinion, Piotr Mueller replied that, "it needs to be looked at more broadly."
He said that in the age of social media, people wanted to make black-and-white judgements but that a broader perspective was needed. "Because the problem related to alcoholism, broadly understood in various social groups, is a serious thing," Mueller said.
The government spokesperson went on to deny that Kaczynski's comments were a problem for PiS.
Robert Biedron, an MEP from the opposition party the Left, told a press conference on Monday that the party's parliamentary caucus would submit a motion to the parliamentary ethics committee to punish Kaczynski for what he called his "disgraceful statement about women."
"We deeply believe that Jaroslaw Kaczynski cannot go unpunished saying that type of thing," Biedron said. "It cannot be that Jaroslaw Kaczynski leads another witch-hunt, another war against women... His contempt for women has once again seen the light of day."