‘The rule of law in Poland is being broken’ – President Duda accuses Polish government of using forceful measures in ambassadorial nominations

Poland's president has charged the ruling government with employing forceful measures to nominate ambassadors without presidential consent

Poland's President Andrzej Duda gives a statement to the media in Warsaw, Poland, Jan. 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
4 Min Read

Polish President Andrzej Duda criticized the left-liberal government on Tuesday, asserting that they are attempting to appoint ambassadors using coercive methods. In a morning interview with RMF FM commercial radio, President Duda accused the government of violating established norms regarding the nomination of ambassadors.

Minister Sikorski is not a lawyer, and thus I do not expect him to have a profound understanding of constitutional law. However, basic constitutional literacy should also be a domain of constitutional ministers. The principle of collaboration is mandatory for all, including the president, the prime minister, and the minister of foreign affairs,” he stated.

President Duda highlighted that the government side is breaking long-standing procedures for appointing diplomats to ambassadorial roles, which have been in place in Poland for over 30 years.

“The procedure used to be very simple: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MSZ) would send an initial ambassadorial candidate proposal to the president. Typically, the president would mark the document with ‘agreed’ or ‘disagreed’ and it would return to the foreign minister. Currently, there are attempts to forcefully nominate individuals to ambassadorial positions without prior agreement from the president of Poland, and without consultation with him,” he added.

Moreover, Duda emphasized that Donald Tusk is violating agreements made with him by trying to dismiss the ambassador to NATO. Duda was asked whether he had received “compromising” documents about Ambassador Tomasz Szatkowski, which were mentioned by the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Tomasz Siemoniak.

“I received the documents, but they absolutely do not compromise Ambassador Szatkowski in any way, in my opinion,” Duda responded. He noted that since these documents were transmitted confidentially, he could not discuss their contents.

“All I can say is that the contents of these documents have nothing to do with the function that Mr. Szatkowski has been performing for Poland at NATO headquarters in Brussels for the last few years,” he said.

President Duda also pointed out that Ambassador Szatkowski is currently preparing for the upcoming NATO summit.

“And now there is a forceful attempt — de facto — to remove him from Brussels, to recall him from his position,” said Duda. “I see absolutely no justification for recalling Mr. Szatkowski just before the NATO summit.”

MSZ spokesman Paweł Wroński informed PAP (the state news agency) that on May 31, four ambassadors, including NATO Ambassador Tomasz Szatkowski, “had completed their mission.”

The president was asked how he feels as the defender of the status quo of the former ruling team — its appointed ambassadors; the public media, which the current authorities have “reclaimed” from PiS; and PiS’ assets in the prosecutor’s offices and courts.

“I am primarily a defender of the constitutional and legal order,” said Duda. “Many of the current ruling actions, such as the removal of the national prosecutor and the appointment of a new one, took place completely unlawfully, entirely outside the law.”

Duda stated that “the rule of law in Poland is being broken.”

“Previously, the rule of law was not violated; everything was established on democratic principles. Everything was based on laws, not on the decrees of the prime minister and the whims of ministers,” said the president.

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