“Growing Pains” of Poland’s Emerging Government
Will the Polish-Polish war continue until May 2025?
By Robert Strybel
WARSAW–The unprecedented results of October’s presidential election have led to a longer than usual incubation period for a new government. The incumbent Law&Justice (L&J) party won the election by capturing more seats in the 460-member Sejm than any other grouping, but lost its majority after three rival parties joined forces. The resultant left-to-right coalition had been pressuring the president to give its leader, Donald Tusk, the task of forming a new government without delay, but Andrzej Duda has exercised his constitutional prerogative to grant the outgoing Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki the first shot. Only if he failed would Duda appoint Tusk.
Since it appeared well-nigh impossible for Morawiecki to lure the missing 37 MPs away from the coalition to achieve a bare majority, the Tusk-led coalition ranted and fumed at what they called Duda’s delaying tactics. They feared their government might not be in place until January, but couldn’t do anything about it. The 18-year-old Polish-Polish war seemed to be ticking over as usual.
The newly elected marshal (speaker) of the Sejm, Szymon Hołownia, from the center-right Third Road party, seemed to provide a glimmer of hope when he vowed that under his tutelage “the Sejm will never again be a hate-speech forum.” That was a reference to the typical mud-slinging fests (think Democrats and Republicans!) into which Polish parliamentary debates have generally degenerated over the past 18 years, ever since Tusk created his anti-L&J “hate industry.”
Since the next presidential election will most likely be held in May 2025, the period of cohabitation between the presumed ruling coalition and President Duda could be a daunting experience for Poland. Tusk’s tripartite alliance is bent on undoing much of what L&J had accomplished. That could include disbanding the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Institute of National Remembrance and TVP Info, public television news. Duda, however, has stressed that he will stand guard over Poland’s many important achievements under L&J rule. The anti-L&J coalition refers to many of them as blunders, abuses, rule-of-law violations and even outright crimes for which outgoing officials should be held to account.
The set-to-govern coalition has already threatened to scrap L&J’s plans to build of a major international air hub serving the eastern half the continent and restrict the development of Europe’s largest land army. Duda has the power to veto legislation he regards as harmful to Poland, but his veto power does extend to Brussels. L&J leader Jarosław Kaczyński has warned that the EU’s sovereign states may soon be supplanted by a federalized super-power ruled by Germany and France which will take over many fields of endeavor now reserved for member nations. That will include foreign relations, defense, migration, education and finance and make the euro (€) the EU’s mandatory currency.