In a recent address at the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki staunchly defended his government’s plan to conduct a four-question referendum. He characterized opposition politicians who criticized the proposed referendum as ‘anti-democratic,’ sparking a heated exchange in the chamber.
The referendum, slated to coincide with the upcoming general election on October 15, has garnered both support and dissent across Poland. The four referendum questions span a range of significant issues, including the contentious EU migrant relocation plan, retirement age adjustments, state asset sales, and the future of the Polish-Belarusian border fence.
During remarks earlier this week, Donald Tusk, leader of the main opposition party Civic Platform (PO), openly expressed his skepticism about the government’s intentions, labeling the referendum as ‘invalid’. Morawiecki swiftly countered Tusk’s remarks, asserting that an opposition party unwilling to partake in a referendum demonstrated ‘anti-democratic’ tendencies and refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the democratically elected authorities.
Critics have contended that the four questions on the ballot are intentionally framed to resonate with populist sentiments and reinforce specific government policies. On the contrary, the government maintains that the referendum serves as a means to empower the Polish populace by allowing direct participation in pivotal decision-making processes.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Morawiecki raised questions about the Civic Coalition’s commitment to democratic ideals, pointing out their absence during a recent military parade held in Warsaw to commemorate Armed Forces Day. Morawiecki’s remarks triggered a fiery exchange of accusations and counterarguments among parliamentary members.