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Main Polish opposition party expels 3 key members

Main Polish opposition party expels 3 key members

Poland's main opposition party, Law and Justice, has expelled three prominent members who had called for more openness from leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski _ a critical split for a party that has not won an election in six years.
The three include Zbigniew Ziobro, the party's vice chairman and a former justice minister long considered a rising star in the party.
After elections on Oct. 9 that failed to return the party to power, Ziobro called for an open debate on the outcome, which was disappointing for the party that governed from 2005-2007. Ziobro also called for more democracy and openness within the conservative and nationalist group _ comments seen as criticism of Kaczynski.
Party spokesman Adam Hofman said the party voted by a large majority at a meeting Friday evening to expel Ziobro and two of his supporters, Jacek Kurski and Tadeusz Cymanski.
Ziobro denounced his expulsion as "unjust."
"This is a bad day for the Polish right," Ziobro said. It "divides and doesn't unite us."
The expulsions are another sign of weakening in a party that has failed to win an election since 2005. The group has a devoted core following of conservative, patriotic Poles but Kaczynski is also considered divisive and combative by a large number of people.
Kaczynski made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency last year, hoping to replace his brother, President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a plane crash.
Following that defeat, a handful of members left the party over conflicts with Kaczynski. They went on to form a new conservative party, Polska Jest Najwazniejsza (Poland Matters Most), but that group failed to win representation in the new parliament in last month's elections.
Observers will now be watching to see if Ziobro and his allies will form a new party. Ziobro enjoys the support of a powerful right-wing cleric, the Rev. Tadeusz Rydzyk, who runs the popular Radio Maryja.
Last month's elections were won by the center-right Civic Platform party of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, marking the first time in Poland's 22-year post-communist history that a party has won two consecutive terms. Tusk's popularity has been bolstered by a growing economy and an image he enjoys of moderation and stability.
The newly elected parliament will hold its first sitting on Tuesday.


Updated : 2021-03-09 05:40 GMT+08:00