US lacking knowledge about Russia commission says presidential advisor
The US lacks “in-depth analysis” about a planned commission to investigate alleged Russian influence on Poland's governments, a presidential aide said on Tuesday, commenting in response to US concerns over the body's possible impact on Poland's general election this autumn.
On Monday, Matthew Miller, a US State Department spokesperson, said Washington was concerned the commission could be used to impede free and fair elections in Poland, and appealed to the Polish government not to use it to eliminate political rivals.
Marcin Przydacz, an international policy advisor to the Polish president, said on Tuesday that the US’s response showed it was misinformed about the commission's functioning. He also gave his assurance that the body would not have the power to bar politicians from running in elections.
Przydacz added that the State Department had obtained its information about the commission from the US embassy in Warsaw, which had failed to carry out proper research on the legislation establishing the commission.
"What is lacking here is an in-depth... analysis of these regulations by the US embassy, which then informed the Department of State about the commission," said Przydacz. "The legislation on which the commission rests does not allow for the barring of anyone from running in elections."
"These reactions show that, unfortunately, they have been based on information which has nothing in common with the legislative reality," Piotr Mueller, the Polish government spokesman, told a Polsat News private television programme later on Tuesday.
He said that, contrary to some comments, decisions which would be taken by the commission could be reviewed by a court, and that the new law would in no way limit the possibility of running for parliament.
"Our only intention is to examine Russia's influence in Poland, just like it has been going on in France or in one of the German states," he said.
According to Poland's opposition, the commission, which is to have the power to ban politicians from public office on the strength of their past contacts with Russia, could be used to bar opposition leaders, especially Donald Tusk, the leader of main opposition grouping Civic Coalition (KO), from this autumn's general election.