Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk accused President Andrzej Duda of obstructing justice after two lawmakers who are due to go to prison appeared at the presidential palace on Tuesday prompting police to search for them in cars leaving the building.

The accusations over the two lawmakers – Mariusz Kaminski and Maciej Wasik – were the latest salvo in a row that is likely to be one of many during a period of cohabitation, where the government and president are from different political camps.

“The situation is unbelievable. Convicts … are to be taken to a place of solitary confinement but they choose another, more comfortable place of solitary confinement – the presidential palace,” said Tusk, who heads Poland’s new pro-European Union coalition government.

Duda’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

In 2015, weeks after PiS came to power, Duda issued a pardon to Kaminski after he was convicted of abuse of power in a previous role as head of Poland’s Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, allowing him to become interior minister. Kaminski had been accused of allowing agents under his command to use entrapment in an investigation.

Lawyers questioned whether Duda could pardon him before an appeals court had issued a final ruling. The Supreme Court said last year the case should be reopened and Kaminski and his deputy Wasik were sentencedlast month to two years in prison for abuse of power.

On Tuesday the president’s office posted a picture of Kaminski and Wasik with Duda at an official event at the palace.

“A sombre dictatorship is being formed. We cannot allow for Poland to hold political prisoners,” Kaminski said after the event. “We are dealing with a deep crisis of our state, a rebellion in the courts … We are not hiding, we are at the president’s.”


Grazyna Ignaczak-Bandych, the head of the president’s chancellery, told the Interia news website that the cars of presidential aides had been stopped and searched by police when leaving the palace.

“This is unauthorised interference, we will demand explanations,” she was quoted as saying.

The speaker of Poland’s lower house of parliament, or Sejm, Szymon Holownia, said the December verdict meant Kaminski and Wasik had lost their parliamentary mandates. But both have denied that and plan to attend the next sitting.

Duda failed to convince Holownia in talks on Monday that his presidential pardon was valid and that the court had no right to issue a second verdict.

“The sitting planned this week will be moved to next week… there is one reason for this decision – my task is to ensure the dignity of the Sejm and social calm,” Holownia said.

The parliament had been due to vote on the 2024 budget at this week’s sitting. It has until the end of January to send it to the president for him to sign. If it does not do this the president can dissolve parliament.