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Polish MPs elect new Speaker as opposition wins key vote in parliament

13.11.2023 17:00
Polish lawmakers elected a new house Speaker on Monday as a bloc of pro-EU opposition parties secured a resounding victory in the country's new parliament during its first key vote.
Polands new lower-house Speaker Szymon Hołownia.
Poland's new lower-house Speaker Szymon Hołownia.PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Szymon Hołownia, a centre-right opposition politician, became Poland's new lower-house Speaker when the country's newly elected parliament convened for the first time on Monday, state news agency PAP reported.

He was backed by 265 MPs, defeating Elżbieta Witek from the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, who won 193 votes.

Hołownia, the co-leader of the centre-right Poland 2050 grouping, had been put forward by four pro-European Union opposition parties that have a combined 248 seats in the lower house following last month's parliamentary election.

On Friday, the four groupings, the liberal Civic Coalition (KO), Hołownia's Poland 2050, the rural-based Polish People's Party (PSL), and the New Left, agreed to form a coalition government.

Hołownia is expected to serve as lower-house Speaker for two years. After that, he will be replaced by Włodzimierz Czarzasty of the New Left, reporters were told.

President urges 'broad coalition for Poland'

During Monday's inaugural session of the new Sejm, President Andrzej Duda addressed lawmakers to mark the start of the new parliament, the PAP news agency reported.

Duda said he was "ready to cooperate with the new parliament," inviting "everyone to join a broad coalition for Poland."

The president also stated he would "protect the accomplishments of the past eight years" under the conservative government led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Duda said "it was a good eight years" of family-friendly policies, hefty child benefits and the lowering of the retirement age, among other policies. He stated that such policies "must remain" under the new government.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tendered the resignation of his government, in line with the constitution, the PAP news agency reported.

On Monday evening, the president was expected to entrust Morawiecki with the mission of forming Poland's new Cabinet, according to an aide.

In his speech to MPs, the outgoing prime minister said that his governing conservatives improved public finances during their eight years in power.

Poles elected a new set of 460 MPs and 100 senators when they went to the ballot box last month.

Morawiecki's ruling conservatives won Poland's October 15 election, but failed to secure a parliamentary majority, increasing the likelihood of an opposition government.

Poland's pro-European opposition groups on Friday signed an agreement to form a coalition government following last month's elections, pledging to restore the rule of law, promote green energy and relax abortion rules, among other policies.


Source: PAP, Polsat News