|John Godson (right) has been a conservative thorn in Mr Tusk's (center) side|
Courtesy of JohnGodson.pl
Prime Minister Donald Tusk, leader of the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party, is reported to have given an ultimatum to more conservative members of his party, asking them to choose between supporting the government’s legislation on civil partnerships and leaving the party.
“Either the conservatives reach an agreement on the civil unions matter, or they’ll be out of PO,” the prime minister said, according to radio station TOK FM. “Civil unions are not a matter of conscience, they are a matter for Civic Platform’s leadership [to decide upon],” Mr Tusk added.
The party is in turmoil over a new civil unions proposal which is to be agreed upon and submitted to parliament for a vote within two weeks. The previous bill – which would have given same-sex couples some of the same rights that married couples enjoy – fell through when 46 MPs from the ruling party broke from the party’s official line and voted against it on January 25.
When asked if he would leave the party, conservative party member John Godson said, “I don’t exclude such an option but I certainly hope it won’t come to that.”
The new revisions to the proposal change one aspect of the former draft, namely that civil unions be concluded before a notary public and not in the Civil Registry office, thus taking the “marriage” facet of the partnerships out of the equation.
Mr Godson is one of the most unrelenting party members when it comes to civil partnerships. “To me, personally, it’s a matter of worldview,” he told TVN24, indicating he would oppose the new proposal.
Agree to disagree
PO member Grzegorz Schetyna commented on his party’s inability to agree on the civil partnerships issue, saying, “In voting on matters such as civil unions, you can’t hide behind your worldview or lack of sufficient discussion.”
He added, “There have been many discussions on the matter. ... There is always a discussion, then it comes to a decision and it should be executed.”
He explained that when his colleagues voted against their own party’s legislative proposal it was “an unfortunate demonstration of several party members who didn’t realize the consequences of their actions,” he told TVN24.
Jacek Rostowski, finance minister and newly nominated deputy prime minister, admitted that PO has had problems with its members disagreeing, but that party leadership “knows exactly how to solve them,” he told RMF FM.
He stressed that PO was not coming apart. Mr Rostowski added that the situation could be salvaged by “total political cohesiveness combined with a great deal of tolerance and understanding in matters of worldview and ideology.”
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