The Standoff

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Polish police this week arrested two opposition politicians convicted of abuse of power who had taken refuge in the presidential palace, prompting a major standoff between the previous conservative government and the newly-elected pro-European coalition of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Bloomberg reported.

The controversy centers on the convictions of former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his deputy, Maciej Wasik, both lawmakers of the Law and Justice Party (PiS), which had governed Poland for eight years before being ousted in the October parliamentary elections.

Both lawmakers had been convicted of abuse of power for actions taken in 2007, but they were pardoned in 2015 by current President Andrzej Duda – an ally of the PiS.

But legal scholars questioned the legality of the pardon, and in June the country’s supreme court ordered a retrial, according to the Associated Press.

Although they were reelected as lawmakers in the October elections, the PiS politicians were sentenced to two years in prison last month. Kaminski and Wasik maintain that they are innocent, but Parliament’s Speaker Szymon Holownia has called for their ejection from parliament because of their convictions.

Meanwhile, the president and other PiS officials have denounced the detentions, with Duda describing the police operation as “unlawful entry.”

Prime Minister Tusk accused Duda of going along with PiS’s attempts to create chaos and instability after losing the elections.

Meanwhile, the detentions risk escalating tension between Tusk’s governing alliance and the PiS, as the newly elected prime minister seeks to undo the policies of the previous government. During its eight years in power, the PiS was accused of democratic backsliding and constantly clashed with the European Union over the rule of law, independent judiciary and reproductive rights.

Analysts said the recent incident could spark a constitutional crisis as Tusk will need Duda’s support to pass legislation. As president, Duda holds veto powers. His term will end in 2025.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.

Copy link