On Friday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that he was proposing amendments to the current law on Russian influence that is set to take effect next week. In a televised statement Duda said that he will be making amendments to the law to address the controversies from critics, including the removal of a ban which allowed people to be expelled from office.
The original bill was signed by Duda and allows for an established commission of 9 members appointed by the lower House of Parliament, where Duda’s Law and Justice Party (PiS) has a small majority. The bill tasks these members with deciding whether those investigated were under “Russian influence” between 2007 and 2022. If an individual is found guilty of being under “Russian influence,” then harsh penalties could be imposed, such as a 10 year ban. Duda claimed that the law is essential for transparency of public life, but its passage caused much controversy.
The bill was dubbed the “lex Tusk bill” by critics, as it has been criticized for targeting opposition leader Donald Tusk. The leader of the opposition Polish Peasants Party tweeted that all parts of the law were based on an undemocratic “hood court” and the spokesperson for the US Embassy in Poland stated concerns that the bill could interfere with Poland’s democracy.
The EU expressed their own concerns, marking yet another conflict between Poland and the EU over the rule of law.