Monday, August 04, 2008

Former Justice Minister fled Warsaw to save immunity?

Former Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro has told Polish Radio that he failed to appear before the Parliamentary Committee for Regulations and MP Matters to avoid losing immunity.

Zbigniew Ziobro (Law and Justice) has denied that he fled Warsaw on Wednesday to cause disruption to the meting of the Regulations Committee that gathered on Wednesday to discuss steps to be taken to rid him of his MP’s mandate and hold him responsible for disclosing secret documents to his party chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, in 2006.

Ziobro told Polish Radio Three on Friday morning that the committee, presided by the ruling Civic Platform, convened the gathering on Wednesday morning even though they knew he would not be able to attend it, as he had previously planned a press conference in Krakow, southern Poland, at that time.

Ziobro said he had informed the Regulations Committee that he could attend the meeting in the afternoon on the same day, but his political opponents from PO decided to go ahead with the meeting agenda to debate ridding him of the immunity in his absence.

Former Justice Minister said that the behaviour of his fellow party members, who attended the meeting and left the conference room ostentatiously after a row broke out when the chairman of the meeting, Stefan Niesiolowski (PO) decided to proceed without Ziobro’s presence, was justified.

Zbigniew Ziobro appealed to PO MPs for a public apology for insulting Polish voters and breaching the opposition’s rights.

Ziobro also declared that he would voluntarily give up his MP’s immunity provided he was given a chance to present his point of view before the Parliament.

The Speaker of the Lower House Bronislaw Komorowski admitted on Polish Radio One on Friday morning that the rules regulating the work of the Parliamentary Committees should be amended, explaining that the row between the PiS and PO MPs during the Regulation Committee’s gathering on Wednesday was unprecedented in the Polish Parliamentary history.

Komorowski stressed however, that the Committee gathering was not meant to be a “trap” for the former Justice Minister, because Ziobro left Warsaw after the Regulations Committee had gathered and “he knew he was fleeing Warsaw".