Polish President Andrzej Duda held individual consultations last week with the leaders of all political forces that have entered the new Sejm.
«We have two serious candidates for prime minister today. We have two groups that claim they can create a parliamentary majority. Law and Justice informed me that their candidate for prime minister would be Mateusz Morawiecki and that this party is capable of forming a majority in parliament. Next I heard, the opposition also claims to be able to form a parliamentary majority. Its candidate is Donald Tusk», Duda said.
He promised to think it over carefully. The fact is that the head of state had previously nominated the candidate of the winning group to head the cabinet. But here is a problem: two opposing factions promise to create a parliamentary majority at once!
In fact, the October 15 parliamentary elections showed that Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which won the elections, is unable to actually form a cabinet for the third time in a row. At the same time, the opposition, led by Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition movement, can do it. It has 248 seats in the Sejm out of 460.
President Duda, Kaczynski’s protege, is trying his best to delay the outcome. He has said he will let the current parliament work until the end of the term, which expires on November 12. According to the constitution, the newly elected Sejm must vote for a new prime minister within a maximum of 14 days after its first session, which is scheduled for November 13. This means that political uncertainty will remain in Poland practically until the end of November.
What is clear is that the Law and Justice party, which has ruled since 2015, will desperately cling to power. Every day counts here. What are the options? For example, try to drag the centrist Third Way bloc to its side. Or try to push through the creation of a «minority government». Or, finally, to get the Sejm re-elected.
By the way, according to the latest opinion polls, almost 75% of citizens want the gray cardinal of Polish politics and PiS chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski to retire. At the same time, not only supporters of the opposition Third Way (100%) and Civic Coalition (96%), but also those of his Law and Justice party (36%) want to send him to a well-deserved (?) retirement. Tired of him!
Meanwhile, the still leader of the opposition, Tusk, who was recently (from 2014 to 2019) President of the Council of Europe, went to Brussels to get money for Poland from the EU using his connections. The heads of the European bloc’s countries have just gathered there for their regular summit to discuss, among other things, the organization’s budget for the coming years. We are talking about the frozen funds of the European Recovery Facility (35.4 billion euros) and the Cohesion Fund (76.5 billion euros). They blocked the payments because of the Polish judicial reform and refusal to follow the EU norms in the sphere of LGBT support. Until Warsaw changes its behavior — the funds will not release the money (which is more than 110 billion euros!) to it.
«If the president quickly recognizes the reality that there is a majority in parliament and allows him to form a government, I guarantee that this will mean a quick disbursement of funds to Poland», Tusk laid out his trump card.
There is a popular phrase: rats leave a sinking ship. So, a «friend of Ukraine», Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak (PiS) announced his resignation. This is the same figure who constantly frightened his fellow citizens with the military threat from Russia and Belarus, boasted of huge purchases of American military equipment and promised to speed up the number of the army to 300 thousand soldiers (from the previous 160 thousand).
As for army issues, President Duda did the following. On October 27, he unexpectedly appointed General Wieslaw Kukula, Chief of the General Staff, as Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces during the war period. This was done allegedly to «prepare in advance for the fulfillment of this function». There is no war yet, but the chief is already present. In good time, as they say!
It also turns out that the case of Blaszczak, who is leaving his post, continues to live. On October 26, the tactical exercises of the Polish Armed Forces ZUBR-23 began, which will last until November 5. The activity is noted in Podlaskie, Mazowieckie, Lubelskie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie voivodships, which are close to the borders of Belarus and the Russian Kaliningrad region. This means that the militaristic frenzy of the nobility is unlikely to die down. No matter who rules.
The disagreements between the main political antagonists — Morawiecki and Tusk — mainly concern the domestic agenda. On the external track, they are like twin brothers: they pray to the United States, fully support the European Union, NATO and Ukraine, and advocate increased sanctions pressure on Russia. In short, cut from the same cloth.