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POLAND: Tape scandal damages PO

Sławomir Neumann, head of the Civic Platform-Civic Coalition (PO-KO) parliamentary club, resigned from the function on Sunday. The decision comes after the public news channel TVP Info published tapes of Neumann’s conversations with PO politicians in the northern city of Tczew. The initially-published conversations took place in 2017 and relate to legal charges against presidents of cities associated with the PO. Using vulgar language, Neumann describes how loyalty is paramount in the Civic Platform and how prosecutorial charges against PO politicians may even increase their vote in the elections. Neumann was supposedly being recorded for over a year due to internal conflicts in the PO structures in Tczew.

More recordings are likely to be released, and those published thus far have allowed the ruling PiS party to portray PO politicians as cynical, corrupted, and lacking respect towards voters. Neumann’s two-day delay in resigning from his function also contributed to an impression of a lack of coordination in the PO. Neumann’s tapes, as they are being called in the media, are a huge blow to the main opposition grouping in the last week before the parliamentary election. The Civic Coalition will now be on the defensive in the last days of the campaign. This situation also provides an opportunity to the Left which has the most potential to pinch voters from the Coalition.