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Court rules against governing party over opposition unemployment claim

A Warsaw court has ruled that Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party’s claims that unemployment under the previous government reached 15 percent are untrue and ordered that PiS desist spreading the information.

The court also ruled, however, that the ruling party does not need to publish any corrections regarding the claim.

The ruling concerns a video posted to social media on Monday in which PiS argued that Donald Tusk, leader of the main Civic Platform (PO) opposition party and prime minister in the previous coalition government, “does not deserve another chance.”

“I remember how Tusk ruled; I remember I lost my job because unemployment was 15 percent; I remember how he voted against support for Polish families; I remember how he disarmed Poland; I remember how he hugged Putin,” the main character in the election campaign video said. Poland will go to the polls for a general election on October 15.

On Wednesday, PO spokesperson Jan Grabiec announced the first election-related court case. “PiS will have to apologise for lies in the video about 15-percent unemployment during the time of Prime Minister Tusk’s government,” Grabiec said. “Yes, there was 15-percent unemployment and higher, but under Prime Minister (PiS leader Jaroslaw – PAP) Kaczynski.”

The Warsaw court said that the claim was untrue as unemployment had breached the 14-percent mark but only for three months and was much lower for the rest of that government’s term.

Tusk said the ruling party would lie until the end of the election campaign.

“They started the campaign with lies and then they lost in court,” he tweeted. “They will lie to the very end. And then stand before a court.”

However, the government spokesperson defended PiS’s claim on Thursday, arguing that in much of Poland, unemployment under Tusk had exceeded 15 percent.

“In over 200 districts in Poland during the time of Donald Tusk, unemployment did indeed exceed 15 percent,” Piotr Mueller told a press conference.

Mueller added that during Tusk’s tenure, unemployment had reached a national maximum of 14.4 percent and that under the current government it had fallen to around 5 percent.

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