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Chief auditor: law violations during preparation of 2020 postal vote

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

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TVN24 News in English, PAP
Polish lower house passing rules allowing postal voting in presidential electionTVN24
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TVN24Polish lower house passing rules allowing postal voting in presidential election

Head of Poland's Supreme Audit Office Marian Banaś presented results of an inquiry into the preparation of postal voting in 2020, which did not take place in the end. He added the office has notified the prosecutor about two possible law violations relating to the planning of the ballot.

Onet.pl portal was the first to publish fragments of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) report. The document was also seen by TVN24 reporters from "Czarno na białym" and tvn24.pl portal.

At a conference held at the NIK headquarters a video was displayed showing a timeline of events surrounding the organisation of the election planned for May 2020.

The NIK chief Marian Banaś said the office "negatively assessed" the process of preparing of the election planned for May 10, 2020, with the use of postal voting.

"From April 16, that is from the moment the PM had signed the decision to hold the election, to May 9, the National Electoral Commission (PKW) was the only institution legally entitled to organise the vote" - Banaś stressed.

He said that "organisation and preparation of the election based on an administrative decision should not have taken place and had no legal grounds".

NIK director who coordinated the inquiry Bogdan Skwarka said there were no legal grounds allowing the prime minister to give any orders to the Polish Post and the Polish Security Paper Works (PWPW) regarding organisation of the election.

Skwarka added that it was the PKW's exclusive prerogative to order printing of voting cards, not the prime minister's who had no grounds to make such decision.

Furthermore, Skwarka said "the decisions were being taken quickly, without analysis", and that the PM's office failed to explain whether any estimations regarding costs and what would happen if the vote did not happen. "We haven't received any answer, because none such estimations were made" - he said.

"Anyone making decisions that would charge the state budget must make some estimations regarding costs. In this case there were no such estimations" - Skwarka stressed.

The Government Information Centre issued a statement on Thursday in response to the NIK report. "All decisions pertaining to technical preparations of the presidential election through postal voting were lawful - the PM's office has many legal analyses confirming that" - the statement reads.

The government also said that the prime minister and his office chief "were safeguarding the Polish Constitution". "All their actions were focused on holding the election within the constitutional timeframe".

"The prime minister never ordered the presidential election or postal voting. The goal of the efforts undertaken was to enable entitled groups to take part in the election, whose life and health were at risk due to the pandemic (seniors, people with disabilities), as well as those in isolation" - the government said.

Autor:gf

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP