Poland's PM sharply criticizes new president over referendum

AP News
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Posted: Aug 21, 2015 9:08 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's prime minister on Friday sharply criticized the country's new president, a political rival, for seeking a referendum on three issues important primarily to the conservative political party that backs him, Law and Justice.

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz of the center-right Civic Platform party accused President Andrzej Duda of failing to represent the interests of all Poles. She said questions in a national referendum should be discussed with other parties, and said she expects Duda to expand the list of questions after consultations involving other parties.

"I feel disappointed, and if I were a sharp-tongued politician I would say I feel cheated," Kopacz told reporters. "Poland is not a one-party state."

The dispute signals a full return of the political tensions between the country's two leading parties that once defined the country's political life. These political fights might be short-lived, however: Law and Justice is expected to win Oct. 25 parliamentary election, meaning it could soon control the presidency and the government.

Duda, who was sworn in earlier this month, called Thursday for three referendum questions to be added to the October ballot. They involve the retirement age, the age children should begin compulsory schooling and protection for state forests. The Senate has two weeks to decide whether to allow those questions.