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Poland’s parliament passes bill on new European Union Treaty

The lower house of Poland’s parliament (Sejm) passed a government-authored bill on Tuesday, authorizing the president to ratify the new European Union Treaty.

Lawmakers in Poland’s lower house voted 384-56 to adopt the so-called Lisbon Treaty, which streamlines how the 27-member bloc is run. Twelve parliamentarians abstained, according to Polish news agency PAP. The bill will be voted by the upper house (Senate) on Wednesday, paving the way for President Lech Kaczynski to ratify the document. Tuesday’s vote brings to an end weeks of political infighting between the pro-European government and nationalist opposition that threatened to derail ratification.

Last month, President Kaczynski and his brother Jaroslaw, leader of the conservative opposition, threatened to block the treaty in parliament. However, they backed down when Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he was ready to put the issue to a referendum. Tusk said Tuesday that he was very glad the Sejm had authorized the president to ratify the treaty and promised to attend a Senate sitting on the treaty on Wednesday. “This is an important day, we have waited long weeks for it for,” Tusk said in the Sejm. He thanked Poland’s president for his role in resolving the conflict around ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

The Lisbon Treaty, which replaces the European Union constitution scuppered by French and Dutch voters in 2005 referenda, has to be ratified by all 27 member states if it is to take effect by the 2009 target. (