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Polish parliament speaker resigns over flight scandal

August 8, 2019

Speaker Marek Kuchcinski will step down Friday after it emerged that he used government planes for private trips. The scandal has consumed Polish politics and couldn't have come at a worse time for the ruling PiS party.

Marek Kuchcinski
Image: Getty Images/AFP

The speaker of the Polish parliament said he would resign after the opposition accused him of using government planes for personal travel.

Speaker Marek Kuchcinski said at a news conference that he would tender his resignation on Friday.

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Local media and the opposition released documents revealing Kuchcinski, the second most powerful politician according to the constitution, used government planes and military helicopters and aircraft dozens of times over the past few years.

Most of the flights were from the capital, Warsaw, to his home city of Rzeszow, some 280 kilometers (175 miles) to the south.

Kuchcinski apologized earlier this week although he insisted no laws had been broken.

He also admitted that in one case, his wife took a government plane without him. He promised to contribute €6,500 ($7,250) to a military fund to make up for the cost of that flight.

The so-called "Air Kuchcinski" scandal emerged as the ruling Law and Justice Party gears up for parliamentary elections in October. Opinion polls indicate the conservative party is on pace for another win in national elections.

cw/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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