Constituent session: Poland: Duda instructs Morawiecki to form a government

Constituent session: Poland: Duda instructs Morawiecki to form a government

The opposition wins the parliamentary election, but the president instructs the current prime minister to form a government. This means that the change of power can at least be delayed.

A good four weeks after the victory of a three-party opposition alliance in the parliamentary elections in Poland, the change of government is making slow progress. As announced, President Andrzej Duda awarded the task of forming a new government to the previous Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki from the national conservative PiS on Monday. Since Morawiecki will not get a majority in parliament, his mission is likely to fail. It could take several weeks until a new government is formed.

The new parliament had previously met for its constituent session on Monday. Morawiecki’s incumbent government resigned. The MPs elected politician Szymon Holownia from the conservative Third Way opposition party as parliamentary speaker.

In the election on October 15, three opposition parties led by former EU Council President Donald Tusk won a clear majority in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament. Tusk’s liberal-conservative Citizens’ Coalition (KO), together with the Third Way and the left-wing alliance Lewica, has 248 of the total 460 seats. The three parties have now signed a coalition agreement.

The previous national-conservative ruling party PiS became the strongest force in parliament in the election with 194 seats, but fell far short of an absolute majority and does not have a coalition partner.

A turnaround in foreign policy is in sight

The upcoming change of government in Warsaw is also likely to bring about a change in Polish foreign policy. The PiS was in constant dispute with Brussels over judicial reform. The relationship with Berlin was also at a low point because of demands for world war reparations amounting to 1.3 trillion euros. The three opposition parties stand for a pro-European course and a more conciliatory policy towards Germany. The 66-year-old Tusk was Poland’s head of government from 2007 to 2014.

It could be some time before he can take on this position again. According to the constitution, Morawiecki, appointed by Duda, has 14 days to put his cabinet to a vote in parliament. This plan will most likely bring him a crushing defeat. Because apart from the PiS MPs, no other faction, not even the ultra-right Konfederacja, wants to vote for him. When Morawiecki called for a “coalition on Polish affairs” in parliament on Monday, he was met with loud laughter.

Opposition: Only intended to delay the change of power

President Duda, who himself comes from the ranks of the PiS, justified his decision in favor of Morawiecki by saying that it is parliamentary tradition in Poland that a representative of the strongest faction receives this task first. The opposition accuses him of wanting to use the maneuver to delay the change of power and give the PiS more weeks in power.

Only if Morawiecki’s attempt to form a government fails will it be Parliament’s turn. It can form the three-party coalition government from among its members under the leadership of Tusk.

However, the new government will have to come to terms with its reform plans with President Duda, whose second term in office still runs for a year and a half. In his speech to parliament, Duda emphasized that he saw himself as a “guardian of the achievements of the past eight years” – meaning the time of the PiS government. The President made it clear that he would continue to use his veto right in the future if he saw the country’s interests at risk.

Source: Stern

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