Dariusz Joński Calls Former Officials to Testify in Polish Parliamentary Probe

Polish parliamentary committee to probe 2020 postal vote decision, summoning ex-officials including Morawiecki and Kaczyński. Implications for Polish democracy amid Pegasus spyware scandal.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Dariusz Joński Calls Former Officials to Testify in Polish Parliamentary Probe

Dariusz Joński Calls Former Officials to Testify in Polish Parliamentary Probe

Dariusz Joński, chairman of the Polish parliamentary investigative committee, has announced that several high-profile former officials will be called to testify in the ongoing probe into the decision to hold postal elections in May 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those summoned are former Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki, ex-Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) party.

The committee is investigating the controversial push by the PiS government to conduct the presidential elections via postal voting in May 2020, despite concerns over public health and the feasibility of such an undertaking during the pandemic. Although the postal voting plan was ultimately abandoned, the operation cost over 70 million złoty and left the post office with more than 26 million unused ballot packages. The elections were eventually held using traditional methods at polling stations in June and July 2020, resulting in the re-election of Andrzej Duda as president.

The announcement of the high-profile witnesses comes on the heels of heated testimony by former Minister of Internal Affairs Mariusz Kamiński, who appeared before the committee for the second consecutive day on April 24, 2024. During the hearing, Kamiński engaged in a fiery exchange with chairman Joński, who questioned the former minister about his criminal conviction and behavior during a government meeting. The confrontation escalated, with Kamiński calling Joński a swine before abruptly leaving the committee hearing.

Why this matters:

The investigative committee's work is part of a broader effort by the current government, led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk, to restore democratic principles that were allegedly undermined during the PiS party's tenure. This includes an investigation into the use of the powerful Pegasus spyware against hundreds of individuals, including elected officials, between 2017 and 2022. Prosecutor General Adam Bodnar recently informed parliament that the scale of the surveillance was "shocking and depressing," stating that "the use of Pegasus over these few years has poisoned the essence of democracy in Poland."

As the parliamentary probe continues, the testimony of key figures like Grodzki, Morawiecki, and Kaczyński is expected to provide critical insights into the events surrounding the 2020 postal voting decision and its impact on Polish democracy. The committee's findings could have significant consequences for the political landscape in Poland, as the nation grapples with the aftermath of the PiS government's actions and works to restore public trust in its democratic institutions.

Key Takeaways

  • Polish committee to probe 2020 postal vote, summons ex-officials
  • Postal vote plan cost 70M zł, left 26M unused ballots
  • Former minister Kamiński clashed with committee head, called him "swine"
  • Probe part of effort to restore democracy after alleged PiS abuses
  • Testimony of key figures expected to provide insights into 2020 vote