In a shocking turn of events, Wlodzimierz Karpinski, a former treasury minister in Poland, has managed to secure immunity by accepting a seat in the European Parliament, sparking outrage among members of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Karpinski, who is currently in pre-trial detention facing corruption charges, agreed to take up his Member of European Parliament (MEP) mandate, leading to vehement protests from the PiS MPs.
The news, revealed by private radio broadcaster RMF FM on Wednesday, sent shockwaves through the Polish political landscape. Karpinski, arrested as part of a corruption investigation and accused of accepting bribes amounting to PLN 5 million (EUR 1.07 million), has been in custody since February. His decision to accept the MEP seat, despite his legal troubles, has ignited a fierce debate in the country.
During a press conference held in the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, PiS MPs expressed their dismay over the situation. Daniel Milewski of PiS remarked, “He will go from a cell to Brussels,” highlighting the incredulity among the ruling party members. Jan Kanthak, another PiS colleague, echoed this sentiment, stating, “It is truly amazing how a politician who has been detained and faced serious charges can enjoy impunity today.”
Karpinski’s journey to the European Parliament was marked by twists and turns. He was originally a candidate of the centrist Civic Coalition (KO) for the European Parliament in the 2019 elections but failed to secure a seat. The candidate who initially won the seat later resigned after being elected to the Polish parliament in the October 15 vote. The second candidate in line for the MEP position was also elected as a Polish MP, and the third candidate sadly passed away, leaving Karpinski as the next in line to take the seat.
The decision to grant immunity to a politician facing such grave accusations has sparked widespread debate about the legal and ethical implications of the situation. As Poland grapples with this contentious issue, the controversy surrounding Karpinski’s immunity continues to raise questions about the intersection of politics and justice in the country.