Polish parliament condemns German “interference” in elections

The government’s majority in parliament has voted to adopt a resolution condemning “foreign interference” in Poland’s elections. The message is aimed in particular at Germany, which is the only country mentioned by name in the resolution.

Poland’s ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) has repeatedly accused Germany of seeking to influence the outcome of the election – which will take place on 15 October – in favour of the opposition.

However, opposition parties reject such accusations and have called the resolution – which they largely voted against – an “embarrassment” and an attempt to distract from genuine problems the country is facing under PiS.

How political groups in parliament voted on the resolution condemning “foreign interference” in Poland’s elections.

“The Republic of Poland regards any foreign interference in the Polish electoral process as an act hostile to the Polish state and will resolutely fight against it,” read the statement, which was supported by a majority of 234 MPs, mostly from PiS and its allies.

The resolution claims that, since being elected in 2015, the PiS government “has been the subject of constant attacks from groups dominant on the EU political scene [with] German politicians play[ing] an important role in this action”.

“The politicians of a country in which the democratic system emerged only as a condition of peace talks after World War I, and was later established by the Allies as a result of Germany’s defeat in the Second World War unleashed by Germany, have no mandate to lecture others on democracy,” it adds.

Poland’s ruling party has condemned the German leader of the European People’s Party for declaring his aim to „replace PiS in Poland”.

Government figures said it is an example of how German politicians want to help the opposition win this year’s elections https://t.co/82KO7xePBR

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) June 26, 2023

As an example, the resolution cites recent remarks by Manfred Weber, the German leader of the largest group in the European Parliament, in which he said that his European People’s Party is “building a firewall against PiS” and that “we are the only force that can replace PiS in Poland, leading the country back to Europe”.

He also said that parties that refuse to be a “democratic partner” are “enemies and will be fought against”, equating PiS with Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party in France.

The resolution passed by Poland’s parliament declares that such “militant language by politicians setting themselves up as models of Europeanness and the usurpatory nature of any ambition to shape the Polish political scene by external factors and influences is considered an unacceptable interference in the electoral process”.

It is also “contrary to European values, the principle of democracy and national sovereignty”, adds the text.

The Polish prime minister has challenged the leader of the European People’s Party to a debate, accusing him of an attempt to interfere with the elections in Poland.

The call came after Weber repeatedly criticised the ruling Law and Justice partyhttps://t.co/mfoTwQbuVY

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) August 8, 2023

“This resolution is simply a disgrace,” said Sławomir Nitras of the centrist Civic Platform (PO), the largest opposition party, quoted by the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “It is a resolution resulting from some politician’s statement in some interview, and we are writing about countries as a whole.”

“This resolution is so dumb that a more stupid attempt to divert attention from the real problems of Poles – from the cost of living crisis, the housing crisis, problems with education and health care – has probably not been seen since PiS tried to make Poles believe the EU would force us to eat bugs,” said Maciej Konieczny of The Left (Lewica).

Earlier this year, one of the parties that make up the PiS-led ruling coalition proposed an “anti-bug law” amid claims that the opposition and EU want to restrict traditional meat consumption and make Poles eat insects instead.

Poles have a choice between the “Polish” ruling party and the “German” opposition led by @donaldtusk, says Jarosław Kaczyński.

„Germany’s current intention is for us to be subordinated to them. We do not want to be under anyone’s boot. We have to resist” https://t.co/MnWADW8RxU

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) September 26, 2022

PiS, however, defended the resolution, saying that Weber’s statements went beyond accepted practices in cross-border politics.

“It is not the case that a politician of a certain faction says who he supports, because this is generally accepted. Saying that you are going to build a firewall, that you are going to fight someone…this is overstepping the boundaries,” said Radosław Fogiel, a senior PiS MP and one of those who proposed the resolution.

Poland’s Jarosław Kaczyński recorded a message of support for Spain’s right-wing Vox party ahead of today’s elections

„I would like to ask you to support Vox, a party that strives for a safe and strong Spain. Together we will change Europe for the better” pic.twitter.com/qPwvOPKX9T

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 23, 2023

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Main image credit: Policja Lubuska (under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 PL)

Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.

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