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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » January 21, 2009
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Outspoken Deputy Reprimanded
January 21, 2009 By L.Ż.    
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Outspoken deputy Janusz Palikot is to be reprimanded by his party, the ruling Civic Platform (PO), after publicly accusing a female former minister of "political prostitution" and after suggesting that opposition Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jarosław Kaczyński should publicly declare whether he is gay. Palikot, who is known for courting controversy, will lose his position as chairman of the Friendly State parliamentary committee, which oversees the removal of unnecessary red tape in Poland.

On Jan. 9 Palikot accused Grażyna Gęsicka, the minister for regional development in the former Kaczyński-led PiS government, of "political prostitution." His attack was a response to claims Gęsicka made at a press conference that the PO-led coalition government had made poor use of EU funds during 2008 and had used 0.3 percent instead of 5.3 percent of the money available.

Meanwhile, in a blog post, Palikot queried Kaczyński's sexuality. He followed up Jan. 12 by claiming that he was being contacted by people alleging to have been sexually molested by Kaczyński.

Palikot conceded that his party would discipline him for his remarks. PO deputies Jarosław Gowin and Urszula Augustyn went so far as to demand his expulsion, although the party executive declined to do so when they met Jan. 13. After three hours of talks, deputy Prime Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said that the PO executive had recommended that Palikot be reprimanded and removed from his position as chairman of the Friendly State committee. Zbigniew Chlebowski, head of the PO parliamentary group, confirmed that "the sentence on Palikot would be carried out" next week.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk had recommended that Palikot be dealt with severely and even apologized to Gęsicka. "I wish to apologize to Mrs. Grażyna Gęsicka. Janusz Palikot has overstepped the boundaries of political decency in public debate," he said.

"I do not understand the point of the decision taken by the executive of my party but I shall accept all the consequences," was how Palikot responded on his blog.

Palikot has chaired the Friendly State committee since its inception and his work has been broadly praised. PiS deputy Paweł Poncyliusz has said that PiS deputies who resigned from the committee to protest earlier remarks by Palikot, especially his insinuation that president Lech Kaczyński was an alcoholic, could return.

The Friendly State committee, set up on Palikot's initiative, met for the first time Jan. 11, 2008. After its first 100 days of work, its members said they had met 100 times and prepared dozens of draft laws. In a year, the committee held 205 meetings and submitted 100 draft laws. Among the committee's most important proposals is the abolition of construction permits and simpler inheritance provisions.
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