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Poland's ruling Party backs out of plan to expand Warsaw

Associated Press logo Associated Press 28/04/2017
Greenpeace activists unload a cargo of sawdust in front of the Polish parliament in a protest against a law that lifts control of logging trees on private properties, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, April 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) © The Associated Press Greenpeace activists unload a cargo of sawdust in front of the Polish parliament in a protest against a law that lifts control of logging trees on private properties, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, April 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland — Poland's ruling party said Friday it is withdrawing a plan to expand the capital city following protests, saying it needs more consultation with the people.

The populist Law and Justice party previously had dropped plans to toughen Poland's anti-abortion law and reversed the liberalization of forestry law that had led to excessive logging. Both plans had provoked protests and criticism.

The plan to enlarge Warsaw, a city of 1.7 million residents, by incorporating 32 neighboring municipalities also provoked vehement protests.

It would have swelled the city from 517 square kilometers (200 square miles) to 2,514 square kilometers (970 square miles), or larger than New York or London.

Critics said it was aimed at helping Law and Justice win power in Warsaw, where it is much less popular then in the surrounding municipalities. A referendum last month in Legionowo, one of those surrounding municipalities, showed that over 94 percent of residents opposed to the plan.

The party argued that it wanted to help the suburbs develop through closer administrative and transport ties with Warsaw.

The plan's author, Jacek Sasin, said it was being withdrawn from parliament and will be submitted to extensive public debate. He said it will return in an improved form.

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