Poland leak scandal: Three ministers and Speaker resign

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Polish Parliamentary Speaker Radoslaw Sikorski talks to reporters in Warsaw. Photo: 10 June 2015Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Mr Sikorski allegedly described David Cameron as "incompetent"

Three Polish ministers and the country's parliamentary Speaker have resigned amid a row over leaked tapes.

Speaker Radek Sikorski and the health, treasury and sports ministers said they had quit for the good of the ruling centre-right Civic Platform party.

The resignations come four months before general elections, as the popularity of PM Ewa Kopacz is waning.

The officials were secretly recorded in Warsaw restaurants discussing private deals and promotions in 2013-14.

The leaks were published by the Wprost magazine, angering many Poles.

Although bugging conversations to gain information is illegal in Poland, the series of leaks has hit the Polish government hard.

It also led to charges against several people, including waiters - with some media labelling the affair "Waitergate".

'Worthless' relations

"As long as I am the prime minister, I will not allow for political games over the tapes," Mrs Kopacz said on Wednesday.

"Today, on behalf of Civic Platform, I extend my heartfelt apologies" to party supporters, who "listened to the tapes with disgust and irritation".

In one of the recordings, Mr Sikorski - who was then foreign minister - called British PM David Cameron "incompetent" over his handling of EU affairs.

Mr Sikorski was also overheard describing Warsaw's alliance with the US as "worthless".

Using vulgar language, he compared Polish subservience to the US to giving oral sex. He also warned that such a stance would cause "conflict with the Germans, Russians".

He has not denied using such language.

In another recording, then Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz appeared to ask the the country's central bank chief to give the economy a boost to help the government get re-elected.

Under Polish law, the central bank must remain independent of politics.

The scandal proved hugely embarrassing for the Civic Platform, but most ministers kept their jobs, the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw reports.

Mrs Kopacz has now decided that everyone tainted by the scandal must go if she is to stand any chance of being re-elected in October, our correspondent adds.