Polish PM Morawiecki seeks to woo the centrists and radical right to stay in power and reveals the mistakes made during the election

FILE - Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at the forum Debate on the Global Economy during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington, Thursday, April 13, 2023. Leading Polish candidates are gearing up for a debate Monday evening where they hope to sway undecided voters six days before a national election that many Poles believe is the most important once since communism was toppled. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will seek to form a coalition government with the centrist Third Way alliance and right-wing Confederation party. However, he admitted facing a daunting challenge to attain a parliamentary majority to ensure the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) continues to govern.

In an interview with Polish tabloid Fakt on Friday, the Polish leader upheld his view that the United Right alliance won last month’s election after amassing the largest popular vote but accepted that the parliamentary arithmetic would be tough to navigate to remain in power.

“7.6 million people voted for PiS in these elections. This is 1 million more than for the (Civic) Platform and almost 2 million more than eight years ago when we started our government. This means that many more people trusted us after the very serious crises we faced,” Morawiecki told the newspaper.

“We won these elections, but I am aware of how difficult it will be to build a majority now. However, we believe that our voters have the right to expect that we will make such an attempt. We want to show that we are looking to the future,” he added.

The conservative politician claimed that to refuse President Duda’s invitation to form the next administration, as that is the convention afforded to the largest party, “would mean desertion from responsibility.”

“I am not a deserter by nature. If I gave up, it would be unfair to the voters of Law and Justice,” he said.

A key stumbling block to any future conservative administration will be enticing the Third Way alliance away from Donald Tusk’s liberals. The political group comprising Szymon Hołownia’s Poland 2050 and Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz’s Polish People’s Party (PSL) has already signed a coalition agreement with Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO), and a significant backtrack could potentially upset its voters who supported a change in government.

Nonetheless, Morawiecki used Friday’s interview to sow the seeds of discontent among the potential political bedfellows, claiming that the Third Way “will soon notice that its only role is to play in Mr. Tusk’s orchestra.”

“I don’t think Third Way voters will be happy with that. They did not vote for the Platform, but for the Third Way,” he added.

The Polish prime minister, who formally offered his resignation in accordance with parliamentary procedure earlier this week, admitted that mistakes had been made by the governing party during the recent election campaign.

“One of the mistakes was submitting an application to the Constitutional Tribunal, which had to lead to a ruling violating the so-called abortion compromise,” he said. “Some people in our camp — including me — warned then that this proposal could result in a strong shift to the left instead of greater protection of life, and ultimately the radically pro-abortion groups would win.

He also lamented the “sluggish response” the party had to the highly publicized visa scandal, which resulted in the sacking and indictment of former Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk and several other officials accused of granting fast-tracked work visas for migrants in exchange for cash.

Despite the problematic political landscape, Morawiecki reiterated his desire to move forward and “focus on the future,” revealing his intention to announce the composition of his proposed new government in the coming days.

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