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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » October 14, 2009
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From the NEWS Editor
October 14, 2009   
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Poland is recovering from its biggest political earthquake in two years. After a series of dismissals and resignations, the government's lineup has changed radically and several top members of the Civic Platform (PO) have been either sidelined or put out to pasture. Others have been reassigned by Prime Minister Donald Tusk to roles in parliament where a "war for truth" is about to start between the PO and the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party. The next official likely to lose his job is Mariusz Kamiński, chief of the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA), a service that has been heavily criticized by the government for months. The government's clash with the opposition is set to continue in a row over gambling legislation amid allegations that senior PO figures abused their position in a bid to help casino bosses avoid higher taxes.

President Lech Kaczyński has signed the Lisbon Treaty, delivering on a promise he made a few months ago. The treaty was recently approved by Irish voters in a second referendum and so it is only waiting to be signed by Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Klaus, one of the most Euroskeptic leaders in Europe, is sure to delay his approval, but the treaty is nevertheless likely to be finally ratified by all EU member states next year. This means that new opportunities will open before the EU to reform its institutions.

Should celebrities be allowed to stand above the law? Can authorities turn a blind eye to a situation in which a world-famous filmmaker evades punishment for having sex with a 13-year-old girl three decades ago? And last but not least, is it acceptable for his colleagues to ostentatiously stand up for him given his unlawful act? There are no easy answers to these questions, as shown by the case of Roman Polanski, who is facing extradition to the United States after being arrested in Switzerland. Poland is the director's native country and the public debate over what should happen to him has been extremely heated here.

Meanwhile, the government has approved the draft budget for next year and sent it to parliament. Experts say that, due to the global crisis, this is the most difficult budget since 1989, when momentous political and economic changes began in Poland after the fall of communism. According to the government's estimates, the Polish economy will grow 1.2 percent next year, 0.3 percentage points more than this year. In 2011, the country's GDP is expected to grow 2.8 percent, followed by 3.4 percent in 2012 and 2013. Experts from the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund seem to share the optimism of Polish government officials.
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