Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has invited sitting prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his PiS party to form a government, rather than Donald Tusk.
Morawiecki’s party gained more votes and seats than any other single party in last month’s election, so deserves the first opportunity to form a government, Duda said in a television address last night.
Tusk’s KO block received fewer votes than the PiS, but has added support from the Third Way alliance and Left party, which gives him 248 out of 460 seats in the new parliament.
The three parties backing Tusk have yet to agree on a coalition agreement or ministerial posts. Tusk says the agreement will be ready by 10 November.
Morawiecki now has 14 days to attempt to assemble a coalition giving him a working majority in parliament. With both the right-wing Confederation and Polish People’s Party (PSL) parties refusing to back him, he is unlikely to succeed.
Though the PSL has backed Tusk, the PiS is attempting to change its mind.
As an olive branch toward that party, Duda asked PSL deputy Marek Sawicki to act as “senior speaker”, an elder statesman who opens the inaugural session of the new parliament on 13 November.
In this session, MPs take their oaths of office and elect the actual speaker. If the three parties that back Tusk cooperate to choose a speaker, as is likely, Morawiecki is likely to accept he does not have a majority.
Though Morawiecki is unlikely to form a government, Duda is attempting to keep on good terms with the PiS. With Duda’s second and final term of office as president finishing in 2025, he has ambitions to succeed Jarosław Kaczyński as the party’s leader after. Kaczyński is 74, while Duda is only 53.
Representatives of the parties backing Tusk criticised Duda for wasting parliament’s time and showing loyalty to the outgoing government.
“It is clear where the majority lies, this will change nothing,” says PSL leader Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz.
Szymon Hołownia, head of the Tusk-aligned Poland 2050 party, says “had not expected much of Duda and therefore wasn’t disappointed”.
Other backbenchers ridiculed Duda for being a poor mathematician.
After Morawiecki’s 14 days expire, parliament has another 14 days to elect a new government, which Duda is constitutionally bound to accept.