Polish opposition ends parliamentary occupation

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By Robert Hackwill
Polish opposition ends parliamentary occupation

Opposition politicians have ended their month-long occupation of Poland’s lower house of parliament, but although it was briefly opened again, parliament has been suspended until January 25.

The opposition’s main complaint was that the Law and Justice government rammed through what they say was an illegal vote on the budget, and they wanted it held again. They were also angered by plans to restrict media access to parliament.

The opposition says Law and Justice’s leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s populist methods are increasingly authoritarian and they have argued the blockade of Parliament is necessary to defend democratic standards.

The occupation was ended because the government dropped the media restrictions plan, but they have refused to budge on the budget. They also accused the opposition of creating the crisis by blocking the parliamentary speaker from taking his seat during the budget debate, which they say forced a inquorate budget vote in a side chamber.