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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Walesa Veto Overturned On Sugar Protectionist Bill

WARSAW -- Poland's lower house of parliament, the Sejm, has overturned a presidential veto of a bill aimed at shoring up the country's sugar industry.

President Lech Walesa refused to sign the bill last week, saying it was not compatible with a market economy.

The Sejm voted 246-63 with 15 abstentions late Friday, gathering more than the two-thirds majority of votes needed to override Walesa's veto.

Under the bill, passed initially by the leftist-dominated parliament in July, 78 state-owned sugar beet refineries, which had operated independently so far, will be grouped into four regional holdings competing with one another for production quotas.

Minimum prices for sugar will also be set and a Market Stabilization Fund, with contributions from all refineries, will be created to subsidize exports.

Walesa has said these regulations were good for the sugar lobby but inflationary and harmful to consumers.

Supporters of the bill, sponsored by Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak's government, argue that the sugar industry required additional support such as that provided in many market-oriented economies to ensure its stability.

Sugar industry officials had earlier said that without the legislation one-third of all Polish refineries could go bankrupt this year. At present, more than 25 refineries can no longer raise credit.