Poland’s governing Law and Justice party (PiS) has claimed victory in Sunday’s general election. With most results in, the conservative nationalist party has more than 40% of the vote, enough to boost its majority in the lower house of parliament. PiS has been at loggerheads with the EU over reforms to Poland’s judiciary and has also been criticized over its position on gay rights.
At least five people, including two children, have died and more than 100 have been injured during a sudden thunderstorm in Poland and Slovakia’s Tatra mountains, according to rescuers. Most of the victims were in Poland, where lightning struck a metal cross atop Mount Giewont as well as a metal chain near the summit, according to local media.
Polish media are reporting that more than two dozen rescue experts are trying to free two spelunkers trapped by rising water in a cave in southern Poland. The private broadcaster TVN said Sunday that rescue officials have not yet managed to make contact with the two, who became trapped Saturday in the Wielka Sniezna cave in the Tatra mountains. Wielka Sniezna is the deepest and longest cave in Poland.
The US will deploy 1,000 more troops to Poland, President Donald Trump has said during a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda. For the past year the Warsaw government has been lobbying the Americans to establish a permanent military base in Poland to host up to a division (several thousand) US troops. The base may be called Fort Trump, President Duda quipped during his visit to the White House on Wednesday.
Pawel Adamowicz, mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk, was stabbed in the heart in front of a crowd of thousands at a Warsaw concert for charity. The attacker, a 27-year-old man, shouted that he was doing it for political revenge. The attacker ran onto the stage with a knife and stabbed Adamowicz in the heart and abdomen, the Associated Press reports. He was resuscitated and rushed to a hospital where he underwent five hours of surgery. One of the doctors treating him told reporters he was in “very serious condition.”
A measure was passed in the lower house of Polish Parliament, Friday, to make it illegal to call Poland responsible for crimes committed in the country during the Holocaust, sparking a critical response from Israeli lawmakers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Polish defenders of the legislation claim it proposes indicating German responsibility for the Holocaust.
Poland signed a $4.75 billion deal with the US on Wednesday to buy Raytheon Co’s (RTN.N) Patriot missile defense system. The largest arms procurement in Poland’s history is meant to modernize forces amid strained relations with Russia. The acquisition of the ‘state-of-the-art’ defenses will allow Poland to coordinate operations with its NATO allies.
The highest court in the EU ruled on Monday that Poland must ‘immediately suspend’ a law forcing Supreme Court judges over 65 years of age to retire. Critics of the right-wing law claim it was an attempt to exert more control over the judiciary. The law was introduced in April and met by widespread protests.
Poland altered a months old law which made it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Holocaust, following global criticism for whitewashing history and undermining free speech. Poland voted to soften the law by eliminating criminal penalties for violators. Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the revised measure into law on Wednesday.
Poland’s Senate passed a bill banning Holocaust accusations against Poles and descriptions of concentration camps as Polish, Thursday, despite criticism from the United States and Israel. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda commented that he was ‘absolutely outraged’ by Israel’s recent criticism, saying Poland has ‘a right to defend ourselves from an evident slander.’