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POLAND: Warsaw reprivatisation ahead of local elections

The parliamentary Investigative Committee on Reprivatisation presented its report regarding the scale and costs of the reprivatisation process in Warsaw. The committee is chaired by PiS’ Presidential candidate for Warsaw, Deputy Justice Minister Patryk Jaki. According to the Committee’s findings, the capital city adhered expenses exceeding PLN 21 billion – this includes PLN 17,9 billion worth of real estate and PLN 2,5 billion in compensations. Furthermore, the Committee compared the number of positive reprivatisation decisions issued by the City Hall during the term of President Lech Kaczyński (PiS) and President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (PO) – respectively, 5% and 78%. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro announced further legal action to be conducted by the National Prosecutors Office.
The investigation showed lack of procedural clarity in a PO-run city hall and cases relating to the problems of common people have proven a gold mine for PiS’ narrative against the PO. While top PiS officials were initially sceptical as to the functioning of the committee, Jaki’s tenacity during televised sessions has proved to be beneficial to the ruling party. Concurrently, his position in the party was reinforced, and he became one of the most recognisable younger politicians from the ruling camp. His major opponent Rafał Trzaskowski (PO) is strongly associated with Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the current President of Warsaw, and deputy leader of the PO party. The media resumption of the reprivatisation scandal may haunt Trzaskowski’s efforts in the crucial days ahead of the elections – especially as his campaign is significantly less dynamic than that of Jaki.