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POLAND: Srebrna Scandal - Kaczyński's Response

This week, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński spoke out on the matter of the so-called Srebrna tapes. On 29 January,  the „Gazeta Wyborcza” daily published an article on the involvement of Jarosław Kaczyński in the construction of two 190-metre-tall skyscrapers and business negotiations with Gerald Birgfellner (in-depth analysis in the 21.02 CEC Daily). Kaczyński argues that the tape publication is a non-story. He reasoned that although the disclosed conversations did not affect his image, he must however protest against false accusations and reiterate that no laws have been broken. He did however provide context for voters that the project was supposed to form the financial basis for a theorized right-wing think-tank, a counterweight of sorts for the liberal Stefan Batory Foundation. Kaczyński argues that the political right wing is in need of an intellectual back office, similar to those currently operating in Germany e.g. the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung or the Heinrich Boll Stiftung. Furthermore, Kaczyński accuses Gerald Birgfellner – the businessman suing Kaczyński – of not documenting his work and providing invoices. This was supposedly the reason why Kaczyński suggested the situation be resolved in court. Kaczyński’s explanations sparked criticisms from the opposition but their aim was to reassure PiS voters that the project was well-intentioned.

Although, the ruling party has managed to nip this crisis in the bud, the opposition and outlets such as “Wyborcza” will continue to cover the story. Today’s revelations that Birgfellner reportedly confessed under oath that he was instructed by Kaczyński to pay off a Priest – member of the board of the Lech Kaczyński Foundation – with PLN 50 thousand in exchange for his support of the investment. Consequently, it is likely that the effect the Srebrna scandal will have on the public perception of PiS and its leader Jarsoław Kaczyński is yet to develop. Though PiS may be certain of the support of its base electorate, the swaying voters are said to determine the outcome of the entire election season.