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Poland: Criticized for his official plane travel, Parliament Speaker resigns
Marek Kuchcinski (left), president of the lower house of the Polish Parliament, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, president of the ultra-conservative party Law and Justice (PiS), at a press conference in Warsaw, 8Â August "t. CZAREK SOKOLOWSKI / AP

The ultraconservative president of the lower house of the Polish parliament, Marek Kuchcinski, announced on Thursday 8th August his dismissal following a scandal triggered by his many travels, some with his family , Aboard government aircraft.

"Tomorrow I plan to resign as President of the Diet", told reporters Mr. Kuchcinski, two months away from the legislative elections, while claiming to have not broken the law by these numerous displacements. The announcement to the press was made in the presence ofo 1 of the Polish political scene, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, president of the ultraconservative party Law and Justice (PiS), in power, after a long meeting of its leaders.

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According to the opposition and some of the media, citing a number of documents, Mr. Kuchcinski, 63, the second state figure in the Constitution, used the Gulfstream, a helicopter and military aircraft a hundred times between March 2018 and May 2019.

These documents show that Mr. Kuchcinski was accompanied by members of his family, friends and colleagues on numerous occasions during the flights with the highest priority. Most of the flights were made during weekends, between Warsaw and the Rzeszow region, from which he is a native and deputy.

At first, on Monday, Mr. Kuchcinski, an important PiS member and close associate of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, was limited to apologizing "To all those who felt offended", adding that the large number of robberies was due to his political work as President of Parliament.

"The Speaker of Parliament has not violated the law or the customs"

He then admitted that in one case his wife had taken the plane without him on board. To compensate for the cost of the flight, Kuchcinski announced that he was going to pay 28,000 zlotys (€ 6,500) to an army modernization fund, after having already paid 15,000 zlotys to charities to compensate for the theft of family members; sums judged largely insufficient by the commentators.

"The Speaker of the Parliament has not violated the law or practice in this area. I want to emphasize it. "said Kaczynski on Thursday, whose party, PiS, is a favorite of the legislatures announced for October 13, thanks to important social transfers. "But as you [journalistes], just as a large part of the public opinion is apparently of a different opinion, I can say that the decision of the president [du Parlement] testifies to his attitude in accordance with our slogan "Listening to the Poles and Serving Poland"insisted Mr. Kaczynski.

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However, the opposition continues to ask questions about thefts by other PiS officials, who won the 2015 elections by promising to put an end to abuses of power.

Mr Kaczynski took the opportunity to accuse former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, now outgoing President of the European Council, for using official planes for Personal placements. Kuchcinski's announced dismissal allows the ruling party to avoid a parliamentary debate demanded by the opposition and scheduled for Friday.

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