Europe

Polish leader sparks outcry with 'benevolent masters' claim

  • FILE-In this file  Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, center, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, speaks with lawmakers in parliament in Warsaw, Poland. Kaczynski faced accusations on Wednesday Feb. 22, 2017 of sing offensive and divisive language for saying that members of his ruling party are "benevolent masters," contrasting them with oppositions politicians whom he described as not being "masters" at all. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz,file)

    FILE-In this file Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, center, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, speaks with lawmakers in parliament in Warsaw, Poland. Kaczynski faced accusations on Wednesday Feb. 22, 2017 of sing offensive and divisive language for saying that members of his ruling party are "benevolent masters," contrasting them with oppositions politicians whom he described as not being "masters" at all. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz,file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE-In this  Dec. 21, 2016, file photo, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of the ruling Law and Justice party, speaks during a press conference in Warsaw,Poland. Kaczynski faced accusations on Wednesday of sing offensive and divisive language for saying that members of his ruling party are "benevolent masters," contrasting them with oppositions politicians whom he described as not being "masters" at all. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, file)

    FILE-In this Dec. 21, 2016, file photo, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of the ruling Law and Justice party, speaks during a press conference in Warsaw,Poland. Kaczynski faced accusations on Wednesday of sing offensive and divisive language for saying that members of his ruling party are "benevolent masters," contrasting them with oppositions politicians whom he described as not being "masters" at all. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, file)  (The Associated Press)

The leader of Poland's ruling party is facing accusations that he used offensive and divisive language when he said that members of his ruling party are "benevolent masters."

Jaroslaw Kaczynski made his comments Wednesday as he argued in parliament that his ruling Law and Justice party has behaved better during its time in power than the previous governing party, Civic Platform.

He said: "We are benevolent masters because we are masters, unlike some others."

The language evoked a time when Polish society was divided between serfs and their masters, or lords.

Civic Platform leader Grzegorz Schetyna said Kaczynski's words carried the "worst historical connections," implying notions of "a nation of masters and a master race."