WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s government said Monday it wants to ask voters whether they want dismantled a recently-built border wall that blocks unauthorized migration from Belarus.
The loaded question is one of four the right-wing ruling party wants to ask in a referendum it intends to hold alongside the Oct. 15 parliamentary elections. The Law and Justice party is intent on winning an unprecedented third term in the elections.
Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on social media that the question will ask: “Do you support the pulling down of the barrier on the border on the Polish Republic with the Republic of Belarus?”
The government built the wall last year and substantially reduced the inflow of Middle East and African migrants across that border. Poland and European Union authorities view the inflow as an effort by Russia’s ally Belarus to generate turmoil in Poland and other European countries.
Poland has also reinforced military troops along that border due to Belarus’ hostility.
The other questions in the referendum would be about refusing to accept migrants within a EU program, refusing the privatization of state-owned enterprises and agreeing to the retirement age to be raised.
The referendum is seen as a major element in the ruling party’s electoral campaign intended to discredit the opposition and rally voters around the current government’s policy. Observers say that the fact it would be held together with the elections could influence the voters’ decisions.
The lawmakers are to decide this week whether the referendum will be held, but the ruling party holds narrow control of the decision-making lower house.
Critics note the referendum in not obligatory and suggest voters can ignore it. The opposition is calling for a boycott.
The Associated Press