Poland – On Tuesday, commentators close to both the government and the opposition seemed to agree: the PiS-led United Right coalition will survive until the next parliamentary elections in 2023. An agreement had been reached between the coalition partners on a new program for 2021–23 and between PiS and Lewica (The Left) for a vote in parliament on the EU recovery plan. In addition to difficulties with the Porozumienie (Entente) party of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development, Labor and Technology Jarosław Gowin, Jarosław Kaczyński’s PiS was faced with the refusal of Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro and his Solidarna Polska (United Poland) party to vote in favor of the ratification of the Next Generation EU recovery plan. This disagreement, in addition to a few others, seemed likely to threaten the existence of the United Right coalition and thus the absolute majority of the PiS group (to which Gowin’s and Ziobro’s MPs belong) in the Sejm. The idea of a minority government or early elections was being increasingly raised, while polls showed that PiS, with or without its allies, had no chance of renewing its absolute majority after a year of very questionable Covid management (even if left-wing commentators prefer to explain the 10-point drop in support for PiS by the decision of the Constitutional Court to ban eugenic abortions). As for PiS’ partners, Solidarna Polska cannot be sure it would reach the 5% threshold to send deputies to the Sejm, while Porozumienie can be sure it would not, given the polls.
Under these conditions, the three partners of the United Right coalition had to come to terms with each other. Their leaders – Jarosław Kaczyński, Zbigniew Ziobro and Jarosław Gowin – therefore met last weekend and announced on Sunday, through PiS Executive Committee Chairman Krzysztof Sobolewski, that the three parties were satisfied with their track record since 2015 and would work together in the coming days to prepare a new joint program for 2021–2023.
The differences on the recovery plan have clearly been acknowledged and accepted, and should not lead to a break-up of the coalition. The ratification bill was adopted on Tuesday in the Council of Ministers by a majority of votes (without the two ministers from Solidarna Polska). In a statement released on Tuesday, Zbigniew Ziobro’s party said it was opposed to the recovery plan because of the rule of law mechanism that accompanies the plan, which could lead to arbitrary decisions by Brussels that would threaten Poland’s sovereignty. The statement also mentions the negative impact on the Polish economy of the EU’s 2030 climate targets, which are included in the EU budget for 2021–27. However, the statement continued, the United Right retains a common vision for Poland.