Polish Interior Minister Marcin Kierwinski speaks to the press as she attends the European home affairs ministers council EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET


Poland’s interior minister denies ‘being drunk’ at speech


Polish interior minister Marcin Kierwinski threatened to sue anyone who said he was drunk during a speech at a public function and claimed he had breathalyser and blood-test results to prove he was completely sober during the event.

The controversy began on May 4, when Kierwiński, who leads Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO) slate in June’s European Parliament election, gave a speech at a function for firefighters in Warsaw. Polish President Andrzej Duda and the Speaker of Parliament Szymon Hołownia were also present.

Several of those present observed that the way the minister spoke, with many pauses and apparent slurring of words, made it seem he might have been drunk.

Kierwiński, challenged by reporters after the event, strenuously denied such accusations, blaming technical problems with the sound equipment and the acoustics of the venue for the way his speech sounded to those present.

In an effort to prove his sobriety, Kierwiński later on May 4 shared a photograph of the results of a breathalyser test he said he had voluntarily taken at a police station after the speech with the result “0.0 alcohol” on display.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk tried to make light of the situation on the evening of the same day when he wrote on X that it had been a “night of magical results” – with his local football team Lechia Gdansk winning 3-0, Poland’s world number one tennis star Iga Swiatek winning the final of the Madrid Open 2-1 and with “Kierwinski’s 0.0”.

On May 6, Kierwiński told broadcaster Radio Zet that, after using the breathalyser, he also went to a hospital to have a blood test that confirmed the result. He did not publicly reveal those results and simply said they would be used in evidence in any court against those he alleged were smearing his reputation.

The minister was visibly irritated by questions from journalists regarding the tests, and whether there was any CCTV footage of him going to police HQ or to the hospital at which they took place. Queries as to whether they could talk to the officer who signed the breathalyser certificate also caused him agitation.

Kierwiński has not revealed who if anyone he would sue but in an interview with news website Onet he indicated it could include politicians from the Conservatives (PiS), the main opposition party, and journalists.

Former state TV editor Samuel Pereira had claimed it would be easy to fake the breathalyser test results shared by Kierwiński as the name of the person supposedly taking it can be added by hand after the result is printed.

Jacek Protasiewicz, a former political ally, alleged on X that the interior minister was “drunk as a skunk” during his speech and that “the talk about technical problems is bullshit for little people”.

Protasiewicz, who himself was recently fired by Tusk as deputy governor of the Lower Silesia region, also alleged in his social media posts that huge quantities of alcohol were consumed at the PM’s residence in Warsaw and that key ministers often took part in such events.

Kierwinski will step down by 10 May, only a few months after being appointed to his job as interior minister, to take part in the European Parliament elections in June.

He is a top KO politician who serves as Secretary General of the party. As interior minister he has been responsible for actions such as the detention of two MPs pardoned by the President Andrzej Duda and encouraging the prosecution of PiS leader Jarosław Kaczynski. That was for the alleged removal of a wreath to his deceased brother and former president Lech Kaczynski who perished in the 2010 Smolensk air tragedy.