PM Tusk: Wiretapping scandal may force early parliamentary elections
June 20, 2014
Polish PM Donald Tusk
Prime Minister Donald Tusk does not rule out early elections "in the coming weeks" if the "crisis of trust" and "political stalemate" triggered by the ongoing scandal over wire-tapped recordings of top officials and a Wednesday police raid on a local newsroom deepen, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Thursday.
Tusk disavowed direct responsibility for a Wednesday police raid on a local newsroom, but said he was prepared to pay a political price.
"I do not rule out that the [political] price will be a severe assessment of citizens in elections, which might perhaps take place in a few weeks. . . .if the country becomes locked in a political stalemate," Tusk said of the outlook following the latest developments.
Comments follow a move by police and Poland's internal security forces ABW to remove files from the weekly Wprost which began publishing the recordings over the past weekend. The police action was broadcast live on television and ended only after 23:00 local time with police reportedly leaving empty-handed. A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office said that officers had left to avoid further "escalation of the conflict."
Tusk distanced himself from police actions, reminding that the Prosecutor General is politically independent, with their own power to task police and ABW with securing evidence, irrespective of the fact that ABW is supervised by the PM and/or the Internal Affairs Ministry.
Wprost has published two recordings to date. In the more controversial recording, central bank president Marek Belka and Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz discussed potential terms for the central bank to offer the government help financing the budget if the economy didn't pick up in time for elections.
Prime Minister will decide by early next week if Sienkiewicz should keep his post, Tusk said on Thursday .
"If it turns out the conditions have disabled his ability to function there will be no problems with his dismissal," Tusk said, referring to Sienkiewicz's ambiguous role as both subject of the ongoing scandal and overseer of the services conducting the investigation.
Poland's various opposition parties have made a broad range of calls for change following the revelations.
The largest opposition party, the conservative party Law & Justice (PiS), has called for a full constructive vote of no-confidence against the cabinet and says it is open to talks with other parties to find a joint candidate for replacement PM. Early indications suggest little to no chance of cooperation with the next largest opposition party, the leftist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).