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Poland could lose
E.U. voting rights under newly elected antigay
president

Poland could lose
E.U. voting rights under newly elected antigay
president

Kaczynski

European Union commissioners on Monday said Poland could lose its E.U. voting rights if its newly elected president, Lech Kaczynski (pictured), continues to oppose gay rights.

If Poland's newly elected leader continues to oppose gay rights and seeks to introduce the death penalty, the country stands to lose its European Union voting rights, an E.U. commission warned on Monday, a day after the staunchly antigay mayor of Warsaw was elected president with about 55% of the vote.

In a shot across the bow of archconservative Lech Kaczynski, the commission declared that all member states must abide by E.U. rules, which protect minorities and block the death penalty, The [London] Guardian newspaper reported. Failure to comply could trigger a special process under the Treaty of Nice, which deprives errant member states of their voting rights in ministerial meetings. "We are going to follow the situation very attentively," the principal commission spokesman, Jonathan Todd, told the paper.

The commission intervened after Kaczynski, the Law and Justice party candidate, was confirmed as the winner of Sunday's second round in the Polish presidential election. The election cleared the way for a strengthened Law and Justice party, headed by the new president's identical twin brother, Jaroslaw, to launch formal coalition talks with the Civic Platform party. The two parties won a conservative majority in parliamentary elections on September 25.

European diplomats will be watching the negotiations carefully after the election of the new president, who made his name as mayor of Warsaw. A strongly conservative Catholic, he refused to allow gay pride marches and supports the death penalty. Friso Roscam Abbing, the European commission's justice spokesman, warned the new president that he must abide by Article 6 of the Treaty of Nice, which says that all member states must protect minority rights and not impose the death penalty. A failure to comply could trigger Article 7, which allows the E.U. to deprive a member state of voting rights because the member state is considered in "serious breach" of its obligations on human rights.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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