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Zbigniew Ziobro

By Steven Muller

Zbigniew Ziobro Opposition Law and Justice MPs brought parliament’s rules commission to a standstill this week in a protest against attempts to charge PiS former Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro with improperly distributing state secrets.

Prosecutors say Ziobro, the iron man of the last government and a possible candidate for president or prime minister at the next elections, passed party leader Jarosław Kaczyński files on the investigation against the “fuel mafia” – which has implicated a number of politicians, mostly on the left of the spectrum. Ziobro claims Kaczyński was a member of the national security agency and hence entitled to the documents at the time – their opponents say the aim was just to search for political sleaze on opposition figures for the government’s use.

Either way, the national news was packed with Wednesday’s chaotic scenes in parliament. More than 100 PiS MPs turned up, saying they had questions for the committee. This effectively stopped the committee from voting to remove Ziobro’s legal immunity as an MP, and government officials described it as a return to the sit-in tactics of hard left farmers leader Andrzej Lepper, which blocked parliament from working in 2001 and 2002. Never the one to turn the other cheek, Kaczyński compared the ruling coalition’s tactics to those used by communists to crack down on the democratic opposition during martial law.

“The spirit of [communist strongman Czesław] Kiszczak has returned to the Sejm,” he told reporters.

The row is likely to continue when Parliament returns from its five-week holiday in September.

Source: The New Warsaw Express reported on July 28, 2008