Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, resigned from his role as deputy prime minister on Tuesday to focus on the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
“I have no role in the government at the moment,” Kaczyński told the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “I have already submitted the appeal to the prime minister and it has been approved. As far as I know, the president also signed it.”
There had been reports of growing tensions inside the government between Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who also leads the “Solidarity Poland” party which is allied with PiS, and the liberal wing of the electoral pact led by Jarosław Gowin. The “liberals” led by Gowin split, and he was dismissed from the government in the summer of last year.
However, the strained relationship with Ziobro and his party regarding tactics in the battle with Brussels over alleged rule of law violations and EU funding have recently subsided, paving the way for Kaczyński to leave the government and concentrate on preparing his party for election year.
“We know more or less when we will have elections, in connection with which I had to make a choice, and I chose,” he said.
Kaczyński told the Polish Press Agency that he left the government after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the president accepted his resignation. He said that he had accomplished what he had set out to achieve in joining the government. He also acknowledged that he had not factored in war actually breaking out but that he had contributed to the most important decisions taken to avoid Poland being attacked, such as rearmament.
The PiS leader admitted that in a perfect world he might have decided to remain in his post as deputy prime minister until the end of the war in Ukraine, but he felt that while it was not clear when that war would finish, it was known when the coming parliamentary elections are due to take place in Poland and planning for that is essential.
Kaczyński said that his responsibility now was to ensure that his party “recovers its verve” ahead of the coming elections. In this, he echoed his recent remarks made in response to suggestions that PiS could move for an election ahead of the end of the current parliamentary term, reiterating that he did not feel the party was ready for this.
The outgoing deputy prime minister announced that his successor will be the current defense minister and Kaczyński’s close party ally, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Asked by press about his ongoing personal tensions with Prime Minister Morawiecki and Justice Minister Ziobro, Kaczyński indicated that it was not worth “dying for” the judicial reform that has been ongoing for seven years. The justice minister hit back, claiming that it was the prime minister who had stalled the reform after taking office in late 2017. The PiS leader said that the judicial reforms have not been stalled and are still required to remove what he regards as the pro-liberal bias within the judiciary.