Polish Parliament Speaker to resign amid scandal

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Warsaw, Aug 8 (IANS) The Speaker of the lower house of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) said on Thursday that he would resign on Friday after a scandal erupted over his and his family’s frequent use of government aircraft for private trips.

“I plan to submit my resignation tomorrow,” Marek Kuchcinski told a press conference on Thursday.

Kuchcinski said he had not broken the law and that the flights were related to his official duties. “Because public opinion negatively evaluates my behaviour, I decided that I would not be able to fulfil this function,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

He said that “the controversially high number of flights he took as Speaker was determined by the large number of meetings with residents, often of small towns, that he had held during his term in office”.

According to Polish Press Agency, Sejm will select a new Speaker at its Friday sitting.

Kuchcinski was elected Speaker of the lower house of Parliament on November 12, 2015. Last week, Polish private station Radio Zet reported that he had taken his family along on six flights using governmental planes and enjoyed services of State Protection Service officers.

Initially, the Information Centre of the Sejm replied by saying all the trips had an official purpose and that the presence of family members did not increase costs to the taxpayer.

Kuchcinski admitted that, since taking up office four years ago, he took his family along on 23 flights. He said on one of the flights his wife was even travelling alone.

–IANS

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