Polish parliament debates probe into claims of PiS government wrongdoing

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s parliament on Tuesday debated the formation of three commissions to investigate allegations of wrongdoing during the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party’s eight years in government.

The coalition of pro-European Union parties that looks set to take power after an October election has vowed to hold PiS lawmakers to account over accusations of misuse of public funds, corruption concerning the allocation of visas and the targeting of political opponents with spyware.

With PiS’s opponents holding a majority, parliament will almost certainly vote in favour of the formation of the commissions on Wednesday.

PiS denies accusations of wrongdoing and says the formation of the commissions would merely be a piece of political theatre that distracts lawmakers from more important issues.

“The appointment of investigative commissions is a complicated matter and it will take some time,” parliament speaker Szymon Holownia told a news conference. “I hope that we will be able to form one commission by the end of the year, but this process must start today.”

One commission will deal with attempts by the PiS government to organise a presidential election in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, using only postal votes. The plans fell through and Poland’s Supreme Audit Office (NIK) put the cost to the taxpayer at over 76 million zlotys ($19.17 million).

The second commission will investigate accusations that PiS used Pegasus spyware to hack the phones of political opponents. The third will investigate claims that the government was complicit in a system in which migrants received visas without being properly checked, after paying intermediaries.

On Monday, President Andrzej Duda swore in a PiS government led by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, but the administration is likely to only last two weeks.

After this time it will face a vote of confidence which it looks set to lose as, despite being the largest single party, it lacks a majority and all other parties have ruled out working with it.

($1 = 3.9642 zlotys)

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz)