Polish PM willing to give his role to opposition figure to keep ruling party in power

Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has announced that he would be willing to step aside and serve in a government led by Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz of the opposition Polish People’s Party (PSL) if it allowed the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to remain in power.

However, Kosiniak-Kamysz and his centre-right party today again reiterated that they wish to form a new government with other centrist and left-wing opposition parties, and not with the national-conservative PiS.

The ruling party lost its parliamentary majority at elections last month but has insisted that, because it won the largest individual share of the vote, in keeping with tradition it should have the first opportunity to try to form a new government.

However, with 194 seats, it is 37 short of the majority it would need in the Sejm, the more powerful lower house of parliament, in order to govern. Moreover, all other political groups have rejected the idea of working with PiS.

The three main opposition groups – the centrist Civic Coalition (KO), centre-right Third Way (Trzecia Droga) coalition, which includes PSL, and The Left (Left) – together have a comfortable majority of 248 seats.

They have therefore argued that President Andrzej Duda – whose role it is to name a new prime minister – would simply be wasting time by asking PiS to form a government. They have called for KO leader Donald Tusk to instead be appointed.

Duda has so far said that he remains undecided as to whom he will appoint as prime minister. However, he has called the first sitting of the new parliament for 13 November, at which point he must make a decision.

Following talks with all parliamentary groups, the president says he needs more time to decide who to pick as prime minister.

He notes that both the opposition and ruling party claim they can form a government. „This is a new situation in our democracy” https://t.co/XdyEGml2ry

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) October 26, 2023

In an interview with news website Interia published yesterday, Morawiecki again declared that “PiS won the elections”. But he admitted that “we cannot be sure” of forming a government and that it would depend on “how many righteous people there will be among the opposition MPs”.

“I want to appeal to those MPs from Third Way, Confederation [Konfederacja, a far-right group] and other parliamentary caucuses who care about the social programme and sovereignty and the issue of fighting illegal migration,” he added.

Focusing on PSL, Morawiecki asked them to consider if they “really want to become Civic Platform’s sidekicks” in a new government. Civic Platform (PO), led by Tusk, is the main force within KO.

“Independence in a loose coalition with our camp would be much better, believe me,” he added. Asked by Interia if that coalition could include Kosiniak-Kamysz becoming prime minister, Morawiecki answered “yes”.

Mateusz Morawiecki w rządzie Władysława Kosiniaka-Kamysza? Premier nie widzi przeciwskazańhttps://t.co/IURi1SDAdQ

— WPROST.pl (@TygodnikWPROST) November 4, 2023

However, PSL and its leader immediately ruled out any such arrangement, just as they did when the idea was previously floated by PiS figures in the immediate aftermath of the elections.

Kosiniak-Kamysz today announced that his party’s supreme council had this weekend unanimously confirmed that they want to remain part of the Third Way alliance and that they want to form a governing coalition with KO and The Left.

“We are prepared to take over the government, we are ready, we have a plan, we have a programme, we have an idea for Poland,” said the PSL leader. He also noted – as have other opposition figures in recent days – that work on a coalition agreement between the three groups “is at the final stage”.

We answer 12 questions about Poland’s new government, including:

1. How will it be formed?
2. Will it be stable?
3. How will it tackle rule of law and abortion?
4. Can it unlock EU funds?
5. Will it face presidential vetoes?

Read our full analysis here⬇️https://t.co/oLK33waftV

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) October 23, 2023

“Of course, differences will remain because we are different groups, but obtaining [frozen] funds from the European Union, restoring the rule of law, matters of national security, health, energy and food security – these are the elements that unite us very much and [on which] we cooperate very closely,” said Kosiniak-Kamysz.

Meanwhile, in response to Morawiecki’s suggestion that he could serve in a government led by Kosiniak-Kamysz, Tusk responded sarcastically in a social media post.

“Don’t call anymore, Mateusz. We have a full set of ministers,” he tweeted.

Nie dzwoń już więcej, Mateusz. Mamy komplet ministrów.

— Donald Tusk (@donaldtusk) November 4, 2023

Notes from Poland is run by a small editorial team and published by an independent, non-profit foundation that is funded through donations from our readers. We cannot do what we do without your support.

Main image credit: Władyszław Kosiniak-Kamysz/X

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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