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Polish PM Morawiecki thanks president for chance to form new gov’t

06.11.2023 23:55
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has thanked President Andrzej Duda for entrusting him with the mission to form the country’s new government after last month's parliamentary elections.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Morawiecki voiced his thanks via social media on Monday night, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

Earlier, the president announced in a TV address that the task of forming a new government would be given to Poland's current conservative prime minister.

Morawiecki wrote on the X platform: “On October 15, compatriots voted for a parliament that isn’t dominated by one party, but which is to be dominated by cooperation. The mission with which President Andrzej Duda has entrusted me represents a big honour, but also a challenge.”

The prime minister thanked the president "for his trust," adding: “I invite all lawmakers who put Poland first to work together."

Duda said in his address that “after a calm analysis and consultations,” he decided “to entrust the mission of forming a government to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.”

The president noted that if Morawiecki is unable to win a vote of confidence in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, the chamber will appoint another prime minister, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

If this candidate is not approved by an absolute majority of the lower house within 14 days, the initiative returns to the president, who has 14 days to appoint a new prime minister and his Cabinet. The lower house then has 14 days to back the new government, a step that requires only a simple majority.

If this third option also fails, the president has to call an early election, to be held within 45 days.

Rafał Bochenek, the spokesman for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said that Duda’s decision to grant Morawiecki the first chance to form a new government “honours a constitutional tradition that dates back many years in our country.”

Bochenek told the PAP news agency: “Law and Justice is the winner of this year’s parliamentary election and thanks to this decision to designate Mateusz Morawiecki, we’ll be able to officially start talks on the formation of a government for the next term of office.”

Bochenek added that amid the challenges facing Poland it was important that the new government was formed by "people who espoused Polish interests and Polish sovereignty."

Meanwhile, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, the leader of the rural-based Polish People’s Party (PSL), one of the four pro-European Union opposition groupings that won a majority of seats in the lower house, said they would “calmly do our job” of preparing to form a coalition government.

Kosiniak-Kamysz wrote on X: “The majority is known and we are calmly doing our job,” adding that the mainstream opposition parties “are ready to take responsibility for Poland.”

Meanwhile, Krzysztof Gawkowski, a senior lawmaker with another mainstream opposition group, the New Left, told the PAP news agency that the president was “making political theatre” by “forcing the option of designating Mateusz Morawiecki” as the prime minister of the new government.

Gawkowski added that Morawiecki’s mission was ”doomed” as the ruling party did not have a majority in the new parliament. 

Przemysław Wipler, a newly elected MP with the far-right Confederation, said that "no lawmakers" from his group would give Morawiecki their vote of confidence “under any circumstances,” the PAP news agency reported.

Poland set to appoint new gov't

At the end of last month, President Andrzej Duda held talks on the formation of a new government with the political groups that had won seats in the new parliament.

Afterwards, the head of state said that two groups had claimed to have the backing of a parliamentary majority and a candidate for prime minister, the PAP news agency reported.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has named Morawiecki as its pick to stay on as head of the new government, while the Civic Coalition, the Third Way and the New Left have jointly named opposition leader Donald Tusk, a former prime minister and European Council president, as their choice.

Duda has announced he will convene the first session of the country's newly elected parliament on November 13.

Poland elects new parliament

The ruling conservatives won Poland's October 15 election, but lost their parliamentary majority, increasing the likelihood of an opposition government.

The Law and Justice party, allied with two smaller groupings in a United Right coalition, claimed 35.4 percent of the vote and 194 seats in elections to the lower house of parliament.

Meanwhile, the largest opposition bloc, the Civic Coalition, led by Tusk's Civic Platform party, won 30.7 percent of the vote and 157 seats.

The centre-right opposition Third Way alliance (made up of PSL and the Poland 2050 grouping) finished third at the ballot box with 14.4 percent of the vote and 65 seats, and the opposition New Left party finished fourth with 8.6 percent and 26 seats.

The far-right Confederation group, with 7.2 percent of the vote, also crossed the 5-percent voter support threshold that Polish parties need to clear to enter parliament. It secured 18 lower-house seats.

The Civic Coalition, the Third Way and the New Left together hold 248 seats in the 460-seat lower house.

In addition to seizing control of the lower house, the opposition won 66 senatorial seats, while the ruling conservatives secured 34 seats in the upper house of Poland's bicameral parliament.


Source: IAR, PAP

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.