After dramatic arrest of 2 Polish MPs, speaker postpones sitting of parliament

Co-leader of Third Way coalition Szymon Holownia gives his first speech as the new Speaker of Parliament, during the first session of the newly elected Polish parliament in Warsaw, Poland, Monday Nov. , 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Szymon Hołownia, the speaker of the Polish parliament and ally of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, has attempted to pour oil on troubled waters with a decision to postpone until next week the sitting of parliament that was due to take place this week.

Hołownia assured that his decision will not in any way threaten parliament meeting before the end of January deadline for agreeing on a state budget for this year. If parliament failed to agree to a budget, the president could dissolve the legislature, precipitating early elections. 

He admitted that the cause of the postponement was to ensure that parliamentary debate would take place in a less heated atmosphere and to maintain social calm. He added that a few days for reflection were now called for after the excitement caused by arrest warrants being issued against two PiS MPs.

The two deputies, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, were pardoned by President Andrzej Duda back in 2015 after their convictions, a pardon that was legally backed by the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court. Both men believe they should be allowed to carry on being MPs, but some courts view the presidential pardon as ineffective because it was made before the full legal process had been completed. 

Hołownia denied that postponing the sitting of parliament was an evasive act. He added that it was the court’s decision that automatically made the mandates of the two MPs expire, and not his. 

Deputy speaker Krzysztof Bosak from the Confederation party, however, criticized Hołownia’s actions and said that the presidential pardons were valid and should be respected by the legislature. He said he feels that the speaker failed to consult both his party and PiS on the matter.

Bosak also pointed to the fact that since the Supreme Court has blocked any replacement of the two MPs, this meant that parliament was two MPs short of its constitutional size of 460 and that this could be a source of challenges to its legitimacy. 

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