Polish parliament speaker to resign over flight scandal

The speaker of the Polish parliament said he would resign after the opposition accused him of using government planes for personal travel.

Speaker Marek Kuchcinski said at a news conference that he would tender his resignation on Friday.

Read more: Walesa: Germany should play 'leading role in Europe'

Local media and the opposition released documents revealing Kuchcinski, the second most powerful politician according to the constitution, used government planes and military helicopters and aircraft dozens of times over the past few years.

Most of the flights were from the capital Warsaw to his home city Rzeszow, some 280 kilometers (175 miles) to the south.

Kuchcinski apologized earlier this week although he insisted no laws were broken.

He also admitted that in one case his wife took a government plane without him. He promised to contribute €6,500 ($7,250) to a military fund to make up for the cost of that flight.

The so-called "Air Kuchcinski" scandal emerged as the ruling Law and Justice Party gears up for parliamentary elections in October. Opinion polls indicate the conservative party is on pace for another win in national elections.

cw/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.