Polish President Andrzej Duda moves to end political crisis

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets this weekend in protest at the governing rightwing Law and Justice party (Pis) and proposed measures including restrictions on media coverage of Parliament.

AFP| Last Updated: Dec 18, 2016, 19:03 PM IST
Polish President Andrzej Duda moves to end political crisis

Warsaw: Polish President Andrzej Duda was holding talks Sunday to try to end a seething political crisis which has seen mass anti-government protests across the country and Parliamentary blockade.

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets this weekend in protest at the governing rightwing Law and Justice party (Pis) and proposed measures including restrictions on media coverage of Parliament.

Opposition anger boiled over on Friday with dozens of MPs seizing Parliament`s main chamber over the media restrictions, and the sit-in by lawmakers was continuing on Sunday.

The Pis plans to grant access to the parliament`s press gallery to only two journalists for every media outlet, and ban them from shooting still pictures or video.

The moves prevent the media from recording images of lawmakers when they break the rules, for example by voting for an absent colleague. 

The PiS has defended the measure, saying it was seeking to ensure a comfortable working environment for both lawmakers and journalists.

Duda`s spokesman Marek Magierowski said the president began meetings Sunday with opposition party chiefs, but a date for talks with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the influential PiS leader, has yet to be set.

Emerging from a long silence, Duda had on Saturday called for calm, expressing his "worry" over the turmoil and offering to mediate.

"I think a deal of some kind deal is necessary because it is impossible to function in a system where the parliament cannot debate," his spokesman told news channel TVN24.

The government which came to power about as year ago has come under fire for a string of controversial measures including tightening the abortion law to changes to Poland`s constitutional court`s decision-making rules.