Washington DC, 30 May 2023 (TDI): The United States (US) Department of State has voiced deep concerns regarding Poland’s recently announced plans to establish a commission tasked with investigating alleged “Russian influences” within the country’s previous and current governments.

The recently established commission in Poland is empowered to ban individuals from public office for up to ten years. Yesterday, President Andrzej Duda signed into law the legislation to create the commission. At the same time – acknowledging concerns from legal experts, many of whom say it violates the constitution – Duda referred it to the constitutional court for assessment. However, it will come into force in the meantime.

There are fears that this commission, endowed with the authority to prohibit politicians from holding public office based on their past associations with Russia, could potentially be exploited to bar opposition leaders from participating in the upcoming general election, including Donald Tusk, the leader of the main opposition grouping Civic Coalition (KO).

Response of US

In response to these developments, Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller recently issued a statement, emphasizing the US concerns about the potential misuse of this legislation, which could impede the freedom and fairness of the forthcoming autumn elections. Miller appealed to the Polish government, urging them not to employ this commission as a tool to eliminate political rivals.

“The US Government is deeply concerned by the recent passage of new legislation in Poland that could be susceptible to abuse and interfere with the country’s long-standing tradition of free and fair elections,” said Miller.

“We share the concerns expressed by numerous observers, who fear that this law, establishing a commission to investigate Russian influence, may be manipulated to obstruct opposition politicians from participating in the electoral process without adhering to due process,” he further added.

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“We call upon the government of Poland to ensure that this law does not undermine voters’ fundamental right to choose their preferred candidates and that it is not invoked or abused in a manner that could undermine the perceived legitimacy of the elections.”

The US remains committed to supporting democratic values and the protection of individual rights and freedoms around the world. As a close friend and ally of Poland, the US government urges the Polish authorities to maintain the integrity and transparency of their electoral system, reinforcing the principles that underpin democratic societies.

Earlier, Mark Brzezinski, the US Ambassador to Poland, also expressed a similar viewpoint concerning the commission in his interview with TVN24.

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So, the US Department of State will continue to closely monitor Poland’s developments and engage with the Polish government to emphasize the importance of fair and transparent elections, fostering an environment that allows for genuine political competition and respecting the rights of all citizens to participate in the democratic process.