On the morning of his resignation, MPs Michał Szczerba and Dariusz Joński were once again conducting a parliamentary inspection at the Ministry of Health. In writing, they demanded full documentation regarding contracts for the purchasing of ventilators, visors and antigen tests.
A day before Szumowski announced that he would be leaving his office, Janusz Cieszyński, his deputy minister directly responsible for procurement, resigned. In May, we described how Cieszyński ordered his subordinates to fast track the signing of a contract for faulty masks sold to the Ministry by an acquaintance of Minister Szumowski's family.
According to one source, the situation around Szumowski and Cieszynski recently became more and more complicated due to the new testimonies obtained by the prosecution. One of the witnesses has testified to present both ministers as culpable. Based on our information, it was probably a person working at the ministry who was pressured into signing questionable procurement contracts and administering payments for them.
On Thursday, only two days after Szumowski’s decision to step down from office, the minister of foreign affairs, Jacek Czaputowicz, submitted his resignation as well.
Adam Niedzielski will be in charge of the health ministry and Zbigniew Rau will be Poland's new chief diplomat. Niedzielski is a former president of the National Health Fund (NFZ). Rau serves as chair of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and is a former governor of Łódź province. During the parliamentary campaign in 2019, he became notorious for focusing heavily on anti-LGBT+ narrative in his electoral bid.
The ruling camp’s vitriolic campaign against the LGBT+ communities continues. This week, the Ministry of Justice announced that it would grant PLN 250.000 to Tuchów - one of the Polish municipalities which had declared themselves "LGBT free zones". After the European Commission declined to offer funding for a project presented by Tuchów in response to the municipality’s adoption of discriminatory policies, the district will now receive three times as much money from the „Justice fund”, whose declared goal is to provide crime victims and their relatives with necessary financial help.
In response to the ever more violent infringements of LGBT+ rights by the ruling camp, a group of globally known artists and academics wrote an open letter to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen calling her to take immediate steps to defend core European values – equality, non-discrimination, respect for minorities – which are being blatantly violated in Poland. The signatories include, among others, Pedro Almodóvar, Margaret Atwood, John Maxwell Coetzee, Ed Harris, Timothy Garton Ash, Ivan Krastev and Slavoj Žižek .
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Thank you for being with us. There is no freedom without solidarity.
PhD candidate in Contemporary European History, Yale University
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