Poland’s conservatives lose confidence vote, paving way for Tusk’s return to power

FILE - Newly-elected members of Poland's parliament attend the first session of the lower house, or Sejm, in Warsaw, Poland, Monday Nov. 13, 2023. The Polish parliament gathered for the first time Monday after an election last month heralded a change of course for the Central European nation at a time of war across the border in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has lost a parliamentary vote of confidence in his minority government, paving the way for the leader of the liberal opposition, Donald Tusk, to return to power.

A majority of 266 MPs voted against the recently formed conservative administration, compared with 190 lawmakers backing the government.

Morawiecki’s Law and Justice (PiS) party is the largest in the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, however, it failed to win a parliamentary majority in October’s general election.

Following convention, Polish President Andrzej Duda offered Morawiecki the first chance to form a government capable of winning the confidence of parliament, however, his attempts to convince centrist parties already backing liberal opposition leader Donald Tusk proved to be fatal as he failed to garner sufficient support.

The vote brings an end to eight years of conservative rule in Poland under the Law and Justice party and its political allies.

Later on Monday, the parliamentary majority in the Sejm is expected to present its preferred choice to succeed Morawiecki, former Prime Minister and Eurocrat Donald Tusk.

Tusk, the leader of the Civic Platform (PO), was successful in enticing the New Left and the centrist Third Way political alliance comprising Poland 2050 and the Polish People’s Party to form a new liberal-left coalition government.

Ahead of the confidence vote on Monday, Morawiecki defended his party’s record in government.

“Poland is a great country. I speak with a sense of pride and responsibility about the issues that are most important to us. Many millions of Poles voted for PiS. Once again, I was given the mission of forming a government because we are the party that won the elections,” he told parliamentary colleagues.

“There is no greater duty than serving the Republic of Poland. Fighting for Poland is a huge responsibility – because our future depends on our governments. Poles have decided that the 10th term of the Sejm was to be a Sejm of dialogue and understanding.”

The outgoing prime minister noted the development of the Polish economy under his leadership, citing its lowest unemployment and rising wages, and praised his administration’s social policy which “limited public debt and GDP to 3 percent”.

“We have proven that, with hard work and by fulfilling election promises, a lot can be achieved for the common good of Poles and Poland,” he added.

Should Donald Tusk, as is expected, be approved by Polish lawmakers, he could be sworn in as the next leader of the country by the president as early as Wednesday.

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