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President signs Russian influence law

Paweł Supernak/PAP

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, on Wednesday signed into law a new amended act creating a special body to investigate alleged Russian influences on Polish governments.

The new law which established a state commission for the examination of Russian interference in the internal security of Poland from 2007 to 2022 entered into force on May 31.

The commission, to be empowered to bar politicians from public service if found to have been operating under Russian influence, was heftily criticised by the US, the EU and the opposition in Poland, who saw it as a tool to prevent opposition leader Donald Tusk from running in the autumn parliamentary elections.

In response to domestic and international criticism surrounding the law, on June 2, Duda proposed amendments to a founding act under the commission, saying that the new inquiry body should not include lawmakers or have power to ban anyone from holding public office, which was the most contested part of the original law.

Instead, Duda’s amendments stipulate that the commission may find that a person has acted under Russian influence and thus does not guarantee the proper performance of public duties.

The Polish Sejm, lower house, approved the presidential bill in a 235-214 vote, with four abstentions on July 28 overriding opposition from the Senate.

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