POLITICO: “Poland’s zombie government shuffles into being”

11:27 30.11.2023 •

Mateusz Morawiecki
Photo: AFP

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday swore in a new government headed by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki — whose term in office is likely to be only a maximum of 14 days.

That’s because Morawiecki and his Law and Justice (PiS) party lost the October 15 general election to a coalition of opposition parties. Even though PiS is the largest grouping in the new parliament, with 191 MPs, the three opposition parties that have promised to form a government led by former PM Donald Tusk have 248 seats — enough for a solid majority in the 460-member parliament.

Still, Duda insisted that Morawiecki get the first chance at trying to form a government.

However, despite several weeks of trying to hold talks with opposition MPs, Morawiecki was unable to show that any other parties were willing to work with him.

“We reiterated our declaration that there is no chance for a coalition government,” said Krzysztof Bosak from the far-right Confederation party — seen as the only grouping that might have been interested in joining with PiS.

“I’m looking at the prime minister and at the ladies and gentlemen ministers with joy,” Duda said.

However, in a sign of the real import of the ceremony, the speakers of both the parliament and the upper chamber Senate didn’t bother showing up.

Now Morawiecki has two weeks to present his program to parliament and try to win a vote of confidence. If — as is almost certain — that fails, then parliament gets to choose a candidate for prime minister, which will allow Tusk to return to an office he left in 2014.

“Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s government, in terms of the structure of ministers, is 100 percent completed,” Marcin Kierwiński, a senior member of Tusk’s Civic Coalition party, told Poland’s Radio Zet.

Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of PiS who had been Poland’s de facto ruler from 2015 until the election, said it was his idea for Morawiecki to try to form a technocratic government.

“This proposal is also our protest against all sorts of allegations against Law and Justice, which allegedly ruined Poland,” Kaczyński said.

But the ephemeral nature of Morawiecki’s new Cabinet provoked a lot of ribbing from the opposition, keen to take power after eight years of PiS-led governments.

“This is one big meme… It makes you want to laugh and cry,” said Civic Coalition MP Michał Kołodziejczak.

Leszek Miller, who served as prime minister from 2001 to 2004 and is now a member of the European Parliament, compared the duration of Morawiecki’s Cabinet to the 28-day lifespan of a house fly.


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