Deputy PM for ‘new government’ if tape scandal unresolved by end-summer
June 24, 2014
Deputy PM Janusz Piechocinski
Poland should appoint a new government if the ongoing wire-tapping scandal
involving politicians from ruling Civic Platform (PO) is not resolved by the end of the summer holidays, junior coalition Polish People’s Party (PSL) leader and deputy PM Janusz Piechocinski told reporters after his meeting with the President.
"If we don't clear up what there is to be cleared up, and if we don't unravel who, what for and why set in motion this scenario of passing materials to the media, we'll need to create conditions for a new government to have a moral mandate to conclude this matter," Piechocinski said.
Comments followed Piechocinski's meeting with President Bronislaw Komorowski, who said earlier on Monday he would consult with the leaders of the governing coalition whether they had the will to remain in power and "take responsibility for the state." Regarding personnel decisions in the aftermath of the scandal, Komorowski left it to the "sensitivity" of the individuals involved.
In the ongoing tape scandal, the weekly magazine Wprost has filled two issues with transcripts of recorded conversations amongst high ranking officials and business leaders. In the most controversial such recording, central bank chief Marek Belka is heard discussing possibilities for central bank help in financing the budget should the economy fail to accelerate sufficiently to ensure governing party victory in the 2015 elections.
Other conversations have involved Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, PO secretary general Pawel Gras, former Transport Minister Slawomir Nowak and former Finance Minister Andrzej Parafianowicz.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Monday he would take no action against public officials captured on tape but showing no indication of having broken any laws.
"I won't take consequences against politicians whose sin is swearing during the course of a private conversation," Tusk said. "Esthetics is one thing; breaking the law and the security of the state another."
Top priority goes to finding the source of the recordings and the media leaks, Tusk said of the policy priority.
"There will be no acting under the dictates of anyone who out of bad faith, naivete, for profit or political interest would cooperate with the criminals who would organize these recordings," Tusk said.
The government has been attacked by an organized crime group, Minister Sikorski said on Monday as he commented the publication of another portion of secretly taped conversations
between Poland's top officials by Wprost.
"The government has been attacked by an organized crime group. We do not know yet who is behind it but it is being investigated. I hope that the criminal justice system will establish the identities of the members of the group and in particular their principals, and that they will be identified and punished," Sikorski told reporters at a summit of EU foreign ministers in Luxemburg.
In a covertly-taped conversation with the former finance minister Jacek Rostowski, Sikorski calls the Polish-US alliance "worthless" and claims it might be even harmful as it creates a false sense of security and alienates Poland's two most powerful neighbors, Russia and Germany. Sikorski's aides said that the fragment came out of context and that he was really arguing that the main opposition party Law and Justice (PiS), if in power, would only start problems with Polish neighbors Russia and Germany and then be pleased if the US came to Poland's rescue.
The government has been rattled by the weekly's revelations, with a number of opposition members calling on PM Tusk and his cabinet to step down.