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Professor Ewa Łętowska in Fakty po Faktach about the date of the parliamentary elections, referendum and freedom of speech

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The president has a limited amount of time to decide on an election date. But somewhere in the back of our mind, something starts to bother us. And this is the measure of our decline – said Professor Ewa Łętowska, a retired judge of the Constitutional Tribunal and the first Ombudsman, in “Fakty po Faktach”.

President Andrzej Duda Parliamentary elections have not yet been set. The regulations give him until August 14 to do so. On Sunday, during a family picnic in Połajewo in Wielkopolska, the PiS president Jaroslaw Kaczynski ensured that the elections would be held on time.

– We got something very nasty in recent history, which for me personally is a caesura that basically means the end of the rule of law. It was a presidential election, when two politicians established their own election calendar and the elections took place not when they were supposed to be legal, but when politicians allowed us to do so – said professor in “Fakty po Faktach” Ewa Łętowska. As she added, “if something happened once, and this is the same formation”, the anxiety is understandable in this situation.

Łętowska said that from the point of view of law, in the case of the election schedule, we are not dealing with breaking the law. – The president has a certain amount of time to make a decision. Everything’s all right. Politicians are pushing for it to be earlier, so it can be. But somewhere in the back of our mind, something starts to bother us. And that is something that measures our decline.

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According to her, “we have fallen low.” “We have a gap between what should be in the constitution and reality,” she said.

Prof. Łętowska on the “danger” of combining elections with a referendum

The government plans to hold parliamentary elections and a referendum on migrant relocation at the same time. National Electoral Commission confirmed that a national referendum could be held on the same day as elections.

Prof. Łętowska explained the dangers of such a procedure. – There is a difference between a general parliamentary election and a referendum plebiscite. Well, the referendum is effective and valid if the share of voters exceeds 50 percent. And then it is binding. However, in the event of an election, the turnout will be the same, she said.

– Imagine how we behave in a polling station. We come, there are three lists: the Sejm, the Senate and the referendum. Normally, we are used to being given a few cards very often during elections. Therefore, we mechanically take these cards. We acknowledge what we’ve been given. And then we deal with them as we want to vote. But beware, the referendum is different. Because in a referendum, if we take a piece of paper and therefore sign it, we have already taken part in the referendum, in the validity of this referendum. No matter what we do with this card – explained prof. Łętowska.

As she explained, “therefore, if someone does not want to participate in the referendum, does not want to take the card, he has the right.” – But be careful, he should necessarily write “refused” or “didn’t take” on this list, where the list of voters is validated, or make sure that the commission properly marked it – said the judge.

“Freedom of speech is man’s great achievement, but it does not justify everything”

When asked what she felt when she heard that politicians called their opponents enemies of the nation and excluded them from Polishness, she replied that she was angry. – I feel angry. As a citizen. Freedom of speech is a great privilege, a great human achievement, but it does not justify everything, she argued.

As she added, “freedom of expression, freedom to express opinions, even very critical ones, can take the form that is assigned to classy people, people with an appropriate level, not only intellectual, not only moral, but also social.” – In the sense that they know how to behave in society. If someone yells at his opponent, if someone shakes his fist in front of his face, if he throws insults or childish impertinences, then he does not have the social qualifications necessary for the position he occupies. This is my response as a lawyer,” she said.

Main photo source: TVN24



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