Member of Tusk’s party to become MEP after eight months in prison
Following eight months in detention over alleged corruption charges, Włodzimierz Karpiński of Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO, EPP) was released from custody and will join the European Parliament, which among other things, will give him immunity in the future.
Karpiński, a former treasury minister under Donald Tusk’s previous PO, the EPP government was arrested in February for allegedly taking a bribe of over €1 million from a company bidding on a rubbish collection contract.
“I feel wronged by the prosecutor’s office and the way they acted that resulted in such a long stay in custody,” he said, rejecting the accusations after he left custody, as quoted by the weekly Wprost.
After his ministerial post, he went on to head Warsaw’s waste management department, but Poland’s anti-corruption agency, the CBA, charged him with bribery following an investigation.
In the 2019 European elections, Karpiński ran for the European Parliament but was not elected. He came fourth on his list and lost the mandate to another candidate from the then European Coalition bloc, Krzysztof Hetman.
However, as Hetman was elected to the Polish parliament in last month’s elections and is leaving the European Parliament to take up his new post, he will be replaced by Karpiński. Former Sports Minister Joanna Mucha came third but was elected to the Polish Sejm alongside Hetman.
After taking up the MEP seat, Karpiński will be guaranteed parliamentary immunity, meaning the European Parliament would have to give its green light to any possible future jail time.
However, the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS, ECR) party did not react lightly to the news.
Joining the European Parliament straight from prison is “a scandal on a European scale,” said PiS spokesman Rafał Bochenek.
As PiS’ chances of forming a new government are slim, despite its victory in October’s parliamentary elections and President Andrzej Duda’s nomination of current Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as the new prime minister, Bochenek addressed the new majority in Poland’s parliament.
“The release from custody of Mr. Karpiński, who faces serious corruption charges, and his assumption of the mandate of an MEP is a prominent symbol of the new coalition,” he said, as quoted by Do Rzeczy weekly.
(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | Euractiv.pl)