Deputy Speaker of the Polish Parliament, and Confederation leader Krzysztof Bosak on European election night. Confederation polled 12 percent of the vote and gained six MEP seats. EPA-EFE/PIOTR NOWAK


Bid to replace Polish PM Tusk’s government rejected by hard-right


Fresh from its relative success in polling 12 per cent in the European Parliament elections, Poland’s right-wing Confederation party has poured cold water on the former ruling Conservatives (PiS) suggestion of a new governing coalition.

Under the plan, such a coalition would be made up of PiS, Confederation and the Polish People’s Party (PSL).

Since the elections ended on June 9, the PiS has been encouraging both Confederation and the PSL to cut a deal with it to replace the centre-left government led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The PiS holds 194 seats in Poland’s 460-member parliament, Confederation 18 and the PSL 27.

The centre-right PSL, of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, is currently part of the Third Way alliance together with the centrist Poland 2050 party. In addition, it is part of the ruling majority that put Tusk back in power in December last year.

Third Way saw its support more than halved in the autumn general election, down from 14.4 per cent back in October to 6.9 per cent on June 9. If replicated in a general election, that would see Third Way dumped out of the Polish Parliament.

Mateusz Morawiecki, former PM in the last PiS government, told commercial television Polsat on June 9 that his party was willing to form a coalition with Confederation now or in the future. “We see coalition with Confederation as logical given the broad area of agreement between us on policy,” he said.

Former PiS state assets minister Jacek Sasin told public radio Trójka on June 11 that “our offer for the PSL leader Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz [current defence minister] to lead a government made up of the PSL, ourselves and Confederation still stands and would be good for the country”.

The PiS had made a similar offer back in the autumn after the general election but the PSL rejected it and joined the Tusk-led coalition that took power in mid-December of last year.

Confederation leader and Deputy Speaker of parliament Krzysztof Bosak told reporters on June 11 that his party was not interested in forming a coalition with the PiS.

“They’re trying to give the impression to voters that they are on the cusp of returning to power but that will not happen as there is a credibility gulf between us and the PiS on our approach to the EU.”

Bosak also stated that the “PiS used to censor us in the public media”.

He was referring to the fact that Confederation has criticised the PiS for accepting both the European Union’s Green Deal and the conditionality mechanism for the release of EU funds.

He also pointed to what he said was the exclusion of Confederation politicians from participation in public media programming during the lifetime of the PiS government.

Bosak added: “There is a stable majority in parliament currently, but should it collapse we should have early elections.”

He also said that notions of a coalition with the PiS were “science fiction” and that the former ruling party had previously had ample time to adopt at least some of Confederation’s ideas.

He concluded by saying that his party “were on the way up whereas PiS is descending, as is the Third Way alliance,” who he criticised for what he said was “a lack of assertiveness inside the Tusk government” and “internal divisions”.

PSL has also flatly rejected the PiS overtures. PSL Senior Deputy Marek Sawicki told reporters: “There are no prospects for a coalition with PiS [until] all the allegations involving former PiS government officials have gone through the system and people have been held to account.”

He also criticised his own party and the whole of the Third Way Alliance, saying: “If we don’t start asserting ourselves within the ruling coalition we’ll have to dissolve”.

He was alluding to the fact that Third Way had failed to get the Tusk government to take a more conciliatory stance towards the opposition or adopt policies to help small business.

Tusk and his allies have doubled down on their position after the success of the PM’s KO party in the European parliamentary vote, garnering 37 per cent and taking 21 seats.

On election night he said his coalition parters, Third Way and The Left, needed “to heed lessons from this election in which it has been shown that voters prefer the clear choice my party has been making between good and evil rather than attempting to find ways at achieving compromises”.

That appeared to be an allusion to the fact that some in the Third Way coalition have been expressing doubts about Tusk’s policy of escalating the number of indictments against former PiS government officials.