Following his re-election as the Polish association chairman, MP Michal Mackevič's public statements may spark a serious scandal between Warsaw and the Lithuanian Polish community leadership, which receives financial aid from Poland, ru.delfi.lt writes.
Request to appear at the Polish prosecutors and a harsh conflict with an envoy from a friendly state to Lithuania: this was the sort of atmosphere during which the now re-elected chairman of the Lithuanian Polish union, which spans 10 thousand members across the country, and representative of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Union (LLRA-KŠS) Michal Mackevič was re-elected.
"No arrogant bureaucrat from Warsaw will stir matters up here. What bureaucrat? Well, for example an ambassador [likely referring to the Polish ambassador Urszula Doroszewska] and little fund [likely referring to the Aid of Poles in the East foundation] keep going on and on, they are becoming an eyesore – chairman, chairman. Go to hell, if not this one, there will be another chairman."
"She [Polish ambassador to Lithuania Urzsula Doroszewska] believes that she can call on me, a member of the Lithuanian Seimas and declare that she is limiting my rights. Who is she to do so?"
"I do not know whether some sort of communist Poland bureaucrat could have acted toward me as Mrs. Urzsula Doroszewska did. Despite my great love for Poland, I feel accused, berated and see no chances for continued cooperation."
These are quotes from an interview M. Mackevič gave Polish language media journalists prior to and after the Lithuanian Polish Association's gathering, during which last Saturday he once more became the organisation's chairman with 342 votes in favour and eight abstentions. The ambassador's words themselves were relayed on May 26 in the Polish radio show During Noon:
"We reached the point where the ambassador [U. Doroszewska] calls on me and says: "As a representative of Poland I must tell you that you cannot run for the post of Lithuanian Polish Association chairman." What sort of diplomacy is this, what sort of international rules!? What is this? I am an MP of a foreign country, not of Poland and they are seeking to curtail my rights!! I uphold the laws of the Lithuanian Republic, how dare she do this in general. I will no longer go there [to the Polish embassy], if you want to tell me something, please be so kind and come to me! She [the Polish ambassador] thinks that she can call me, a member of the Lithuanian Seimas, up and declare that she is limiting my rights. Who is she to do so?"
When asked what arguments U. Doroszewska presented, Mr. Mackevič responded:
"She claimed that suspicions have been declared against me. A week ago, I received a request to appear before the Polish prosecutors. However, do they not know the law? No one send such requests to members of a foreign parliament. If the accusations are serious, they must contact the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office, which will then decide, what to do with whom. The prosecutor can then call upon the Seimas, which will decide, whether to strip legal immunity or not. But now they are acted like in wild Asia."
Earlier, prior to the association's congress, Michal Mackevič spoke to a journalist from a Polish radio station, stating:
"We must be rid of various provocateurs, it is an intervention from Poland, where they would like to designate their own chairmen, but we are an independent organisation, community, we work based on democratic principles and conditions; no arrogant bureaucrat form Warsaw will stir matters up for us. What bureaucrat? Well, for example an ambassador [likely referring to the Polish ambassador Urszula Doroszewska] and little fund [likely referring to the Aid of Poles in the East foundation] keep going on and on, they are becoming an eyesore – chairman, chairman. Go to hell, if not this one, there will be another chairman."
So far, the Lithuanian embassy in Poland has not reacted to this.
Based on the responses M. Mackevič has presented to journalists, the following conclusions can be made:
1) Warsaw has serious supicions that financial aid, which was intended to support the community in Lithuania was misplaced;
2) The suspicions were serious enough for the Polish prosecutors in Warsaw to take interest and make a fairly serious step – invite the MP to Warsaw to explain himself;
3) Polish ambassador to Lithuania Urszula Doroszewska demanded during a personal meeting, according to M. Mackevič himself, that he would withdraw his candidacy: in other terms, her actions likely reflect Warsaw's position because it is hard to believe that this is a personal opinion or initiative of the diplomat;
4) Furthermore, M. Mackevič refuses to do so, runs for office and with firm support (both from the Lithuanian Polish Association and the Electoral Action of Poles – Christian Families Union leader Valdemar Tomashevski), wins;
5) M. Mackevič claims that U. Doroszewska, whatever things may be, is simply a bureaucrat, thus she should come to him, not vice versa. In other terms, he and his colleagues are provoking an open conflict with both the ambassador and Warsaw;
6) Warsaw's influence on Polish organisation in Lithuania, despite generous funding, appears insufficient. If Warsaw has little influence, who does?
7) It appears that in the near future we can expect certain sensational statements unless Warsaw chooses to kill off the conflict, but adhering to the principle of "not doing one's laundry in the open."
8) The question arises, whether Polish organisations in Lithuania can continue to enjoy such generous funding after this conflict'
9) The situation in one sentence: Lithuanian MP brusquely speaks of the Polish ambassador and several other high-ranking Polish officials on live air in the Polish radio programme During Noon.