Wednesday saw the strengthening of the majority held by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party when it announced that Deputy Agnieszka Ścigaj would be joining the government as minister for social integration, mainly dealing with the Ukrainian refugees issue. The parliamentary group she leads, “Polish Matters,” has come to an agreement with the ruling party to support the government. The group is made up of four deputies, one of whom has now resigned from the group in protest at the decision taken by his colleagues.
The broadening of the government’s parliamentary base is welcome news for the ruling party, as it means it will no longer be dependent on the maverick rock star and former presidential candidate Paweł Kukiz and his two fellow deputies from the “Kukiz ‘15” parliamentary group. PiS still has a parliamentary cooperation agreement with Kukiz and his allies, but Kukiz has just lost his power to leverage his legislative proposals in the future.
President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday held a ceremony at which he confirmed the appointment of Agnieszka Scigaj. He also appointed the current defense minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, to the job of deputy prime minister, replacing the ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński after Kaczyński announced he was stepping down from that post on Tuesday.
In a mildly surprising move, it was also announced on Wednesday that Tadeusz Kościński would be returning to the government as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Chancellery to oversee the purchase of weapons. The former finance minister resigned from his post after a wave of criticism regarding the way his ministry had introduced tax reforms at the beginning of the year.
The move is seen as a success for Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, with whom Kościński is closely allied.