Tusk-led Polish government could finally win confidence vote on December 11

Tusk-led Polish government could finally win confidence vote on December 11
Civic Coalition leader Donald Tusk won the general election on October 15 and may finally take office two months later due to obstruction by the defeated Law and Justice party. / bne IntelliNews
By Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw December 5, 2023

Poland’s temporary government led by Mateusz Morawiecki of Law and Justice (PiS) will face and most likely lose a vote of confidence in the parliament on December 11 before the incoming government led by Donald Tusk will be voted in, possibly on the same day.

Despite winning the election on October 15, the three-party government of Civic Coalition, the Third Way and the Left is yet to take over power because of obstruction by the outgoing Law and Justice party. President Andrzej Duda offered Morawiecki a go at forming a new government, invoking what he called a “tradition” that a party that won the most votes in an election gets to try winning a confidence vote first.

The nominally victorious PiS is 37 seats short of a majority in the 460-seat Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, with no other party willing to work with it. Morawiecki and PiS maintain they have talked to unspecified MPs to support their bid but there has been no confirmation of that.

An unfazed Morawiecki told reporters on December 4 that he had a “20%-30% chance” of winning the confidence vote, a revelation laughed off by the Tusk-led coalition.

The most likely scenario next week is that Morawiecki will lose the confidence vote by a considerable margin and that parliament will move on swiftly to organise a new confidence vote, this time on the Tusk government, which can count on 248 votes in the parliament.

Duda a steadfast ally of PiS said he would waste no time before swearing in the Tusk government once it wins the confidence vote, ending fears that the Law and Justice party might be planning further obstruction. A tribunal appointed by the outgoing PiS-dominiated parliament recommended recently that Tusk should not be appointed because of his alleged Russian links. The swearing-in is now expected to take place by December 13.

While relying on a comfortable majority in the parliament, the Tusk cabinet is still going to face an uphill struggle with Duda in power until the summer of 2025, when the next presidential election is held. Tusk does not have enough votes in the parliament to override a veto by Duda, who hinted in November he would not hesitate to wield it. Once PiS is definitely out of power next week, Duda will remain the party’s most significant outpost in Poland’s power game.