PM defends deputy speaker Terlecki over his criticism of Tsikhanouskaya

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PM Morawiecki on lower house speaker's controversial tweetTVN24
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TVN24PM Morawiecki on lower house speaker's controversial tweet

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has mentioned a few events from Deputy Sejm Speaker Ryszard Terlecki's life, and said that his colleague from the PiS party "knows perfectly well what fighting for freedom means". This way he commented on Terlecki's tweet criticising Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. PiS arch-rivals, Civic Coalition, demanded his resignation claiming his words stood against Poland's national interest.

Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Ryszard Terlecki (Law and Justice) on Friday criticised Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya for accepting an invitation to participate in Campus Polska initiative launched by the Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski.

He wrote in a tweet: "If Tsikhanouskaya wants to promote anti-democratic opposition in Poland and take part in Trzaskowski's meeting, then she should ask for help in Russia, and we shall support the part of Belarusian opposition which doesn't walk hand in hand with our foes".

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki commented on Terlecki's tweet on Monday at a conference in Budziszewice. "I'd like to present briefly, yet to the point, a few points from Speaker Ryszard Terlecki's life. Well, he was being arrested for democratic protests already in 1968, 1970, later from 1977 he was active in the Solidarity Student Committee, as well as in the Workers' Defence Committee, and obviously later on in Solidarity" - Morawiecki said answering a question from a reporter.

According to the prime minister, Terlecki "knows perfectly well what fighting for freedom and democracy means, how long it takes, and understands perfectly the meanders and intricacies that lead to this freedom".

"Speaking of our eastern neighbour, Belarus, unfortunately we still have see to history take some turns, and support the Belarusian people on their path to freedom, which is what we often discuss with Mr Terlecki" - said PM Morawiecki.

Civic Coalition on Monday filed a motion calling for Terlecki's dismissal from the position of lower house speaker.

Ryszard TerleckiRafał Guz/PAP

"Comments formulated by Mr Terlecki recently are stand in contrast to Poland's national interest, as well as to the traditions of Polish foreign policy making - a mission that's been carried out by all governments for the last 30 years: supporting democratic opposition in Belarus, behind our eastern border, and our eastern partners" - said Jan Grabiec, Civic Coalition lawmaker.

In his view, the style and meaning of Terlecki's comment were "unacceptable". "Polish opposition is legal in Poland. Tradition followed by representatives of democratic states dictates one should meet both with the government officials, and the opposition members. This is characteristic for western democracies, unlike in the East, where deputy speaker Terlecki had advised Belarusian opposition leader to turn to" - he stressed.

"Therefore, we think Mr Terlecki should no longer carry out his duties as deputy speaker of the Sejm - one of the key state positions. He should no longer represent Polish Sejm" - Grabiec added.

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Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Rafał Guz/PAP