Friday, December 02, 2005

UN-Presidential: Pardon Controversy Continues

The storm over the possible pardon for former deputy interior minister by outgoing Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski is brewing at full strength. The news is on the front page of most dailies, with a clearly negative slant. Not a good move by Kwasniewski, even if just for the sake of his legacy.

There is plenty of speculation why he would want to pardon crony Zbigniew Sobotka, who endangered police lives by leaking info on a police raid. At least one paper speculates that since Kwasniewski's prospects for a UN post or any other "international" position are not very strong, he may simply be doing all he can to keep his former communist friends happy at home.

There is one disturbing wrinkle here. The justice ministry, now in the hands of the right, is sitting on papers requested by Kwasniewski, possibly stalling until he leaves office on December 22. That's a little worrying from a constitutional level, as the president does have the power to pardon without a permission from either the justice ministry or the courts if he so desires. Justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro is right in saying this pardon would border the outrageous. But he should not undermine the president's constitutional powers, especially since one of his own is about to take over.

No comments: