Polish parliament to be suspended until after Oct. 13 vote

A lawmaker from Poland’s ruling party addresses an almost empty lower house during the last session of parliament before Oct.13 general election,in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. In an unprecedented move, the ruling party is having the session recess until after the election, raising questions about its intentions.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s parliament is taking an unprecedented recess until after the Oct. 13 general election on a proposal from the ruling party that has raised questions about its intentions.

The last session of the outgoing parliament was held Wednesday and included a no-confidence vote in Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, which he survived handily. Parliament is recessing early Thursday until Oct. 15 — the first time under democracy that Poland’s outgoing lawmakers will have convened after an election.

The ruling Law and Justice party argues that the recess aims to give lawmakers more campaign time, but the opposition suspects the ruling party is planning political moves after the election, like passing unpopular laws that could have turned off voters if they were done before the ballot.

Law and Justice, which seems poised for an electoral victory with wide public support, insists that no changes or additions will be made to the parliamentary schedule. But in the past it has ignored some legislative regulations or customary procedures, drawing protests from the opposition and from European Union leaders.

Opposition parties wanted Ziobro dismissed due to an online hate campaign that his deputy encouraged against judges who were critical of the government. The deputy has already been fired.

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