July 6, 2007 6:12 pm

Kaczynski suspends party elder

Pawel Zalewski, the head of Poland’s parliamentary foreign relations committee and deputy leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, has been suspended from the party for questioning Anna Fotyga, the foreign minister and protégé of Lech Kaczynski, Poland’s president.

He is the latest ruling party moderate to get into trouble with the ruling ­Kaczynski twins, who have no time for politicians who do not share their conspiratorial world view. Others pushed aside for not toeing the party line include Radoslaw Sikorski, the former defence minister, and Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, a former prime minister, now working in London.

Mr Zalewski conducted a committee hearing this week during which he tried to pin down Ms Fotyga on what Poland had achieved during the recent European Union summit held in Brussels.

Before the summit, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the Polish prime minister, proclaimed he was ready to die to reform the European voting system and base it on the square root of a country’s population, a proposal that was dropped when other EU leaders failed to back it.

On its return to Warsaw, the Polish delegation said its triumph was strengthening an opt-out clause allowing a country to delay EU decisions if they are just short of enough votes to block them. In spite of Ms Fotyga’s praise for what she called Mr Kaczynski’s “Oscar-winning” performance, the Poles misunderstood the fine print of the final compromise and now want to reopen the issue during the Portuguese presidency.

Mr Zalewski compounded his sin when he went on a radio programme this week and said: “Ms Fotyga refused to answer key questions.”

Mr Kaczynski said Mr Zalewski had made a mistake, “and such mistakes have to be paid for in politics”.

Mr Zalewski, who insists he is loyal to the party, will have to answer a party disciplinary tribunal.

About a quarter of Poland’s 100 embassies have no ambassador, the ministry has been riven with personality conflicts and many of its most experienced officials have either been sidelined or pushed out as Ms Fotyga installs party loyalists.

Mr Zalewski, urbane and multilingual, had become the calm face of Polish foreign policy. He had tried to soothe relations with ­Germany and send positive signals about Poland’s place in the EU.

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