Tusk says new acts ready to be processed in parliament

Donald Tusk/PAP

Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland's largest opposition grouping, the Civic Coalition (KO), and a candidate for prime minister, has unveiled a raft of legislation the current opposition parties will bring before parliament in the coming days.

The legislation includes bills on IVF and abortion, issues that played a key role in the opposition's campaign for the October general election, and will also set up commissions to investigate alleged wrongdoings by the previous government.

In October's general election, the socially-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party lost its parliamentary majority, which means three major opposition groupings now intend to establish a coalition government led by Tusk.

This is despite the fact that President Andrzej Duda has tasked acting Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, from PiS, with forming a new government.

But as a sign that the opposition is determined to assert its presence on the new parliament, on Tuesday Tusk told a press conference in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, that it already had legislation ready to roll.

"We have prepared draft resolutions and laws that we will want to process tomorrow... next week and in the coming weeks," he said.

Among them, is a bill on government funding for IVF which is a joint initiative of the whole future ruling coalition, Tusk said.

"Together with thousands of Polish women and men, we have collected half a million signatures under this draft, tomorrow the final battle for the hopes and dreams of having their own children for many Polish families will begin. I am very proud of this," he added.

Tusk said that the KO would also submit draft laws to the Sejm regarding legal abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy and the morning-after pill, but even though the bills are ready, it wants to conduct public consultations on these issues.

Another step, he added, would be to "make amends for the wrongs" allegedly committed under the PiS government.

"Hence we want to use this time, before the government is formed, to prepare for an accounting of the bad things that are still happening," Tusk said.

"It is possible that an investigative commission for the so-called postal elections will be established next Tuesday," Tusk added, in reference to an aborted attempt to hold the presidential elections of 2020 via a postal ballot owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PiS government moved ahead with preparations for entirely postal elections, including printing and preparing to post ballot papers, even before the relevant legislation allowing the election to take place became law.

The election eventually went ahead as normal.

Another investigative commission, Tusk said, will probe the PiS government's allegedly illegal use of Pegasus spyware against opposition figures.

"I hope that this investigative commission will be a great warning to everyone, without exception, whoever entertains the idea of using the state against citizens and the opposition," he said.

Tusk also announced a bill on disclosing the assets of politicians' spouses.

"It is in the interest of the reputation of the political class that we adopt this act as soon as possible, according to which every MP, senator, minister, prime minister, city mayor, will have to disclose the assets of their spouses," he said.

Finally, he said, the PiS-established commission tasked with investigating Russian influence will be dismissed.

The establishment of the committee had caused uproar in opposition circles because they felt it would be used to target people like Tusk in an attempt to remove from the political landscape by barring them from public office.

According to Tusk, the commission "openly violated constitutional rights and was the subject of emotions and criticism."

"In Poland, half a million people took to the streets when this sick idea became a fact of how to eliminate political competition through these type of games and fun," he said.

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