Polish conservatives handed first chance to form new government, but PM Morawiecki faces uphill battle

“The mission entrusted to me by the president is a great honor, but also a challenge,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki admitted

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke
FILE - Polish President Andrzej Duda, left, designates then Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, for the prime minister's post, in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Poland’s president Duda has tapped the outgoing prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki of the Law and Justice party, to try to form the country’s next government. His decision is expected to delay the establishment of a functioning government because a majority of lawmakers aren't likely to give Morawiecki approval for his proposed Cabinet. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz), File)

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will have the first chance to form the next government after his conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party won the most votes in last month’s general election, President Andrzej Duda announced on Monday.

In a national address, the Polish president explained he was following convention by allowing PiS the first opportunity to govern.

“I decided to continue the good parliamentary tradition according to which it is the winning grouping that first gets the chance to form a government,” Duda said.

The governing party amassed 194 seats in the vote held on Oct. 15 but fell short of the 231 seats required for a parliamentary majority.

It is hoping to entice the right-wing Confederation party to join it in office and lure the center Polish People’s Party (PSL) away from its political alliance with fellow centrists, The Third Way, who appear to have pinned their colors to the mast of Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO).

Tusk and his current allies could hypothetically enjoy a parliamentary majority with 248 seats, and the former Polish prime minister, who remains the European Union’s preferred candidate, is the only realistic alternative to return to his former job.

Meanwhile, the path to success for PiS is narrow with all other parties publicly having ruled out working with the party in the lead-up to the election.

PSL co-leader Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz told broadcaster RMF on the morning after the election that he had categorically ruled out a coalition with PiS.

“Those who voted for us want a change of government,” he insisted, a view previously echoed by senior officials within Confederation.

Kosiniak-Kamysz has experience working in a Tusk-led administration, having served as his minister of labor and social affairs for over four years until 2015.

Prime Minister Morawiecki acknowledged the tough task ahead of him, taking to social media on Monday evening to describe the task handed to him by the Polish president as “a great honor, but also a challenge.”

On Oct. 15, our compatriots voted for a parliament in which not one party dominates, but in which cooperation prevails. I invite all parliamentarians who put Poland first to cooperate,” he added.

Donald Tusk remained confident of his chances to be next in line to form a new center-liberal administration. This past weekend, he posted on X: “Don’t call again, Mateusz. We have a full set of ministers.”

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