Warsaw (AP) – After the resignation of Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin, the national-conservative government alliance broke down.
The board of Gowin’s conservative group Porozumenie (Understanding) decided on Wednesday to leave the list alliance and its joint faction with the ruling party PiS. From now on they want to act as an independent faction, spokesman Jan Strzezek said on Twitter. Five deputy ministers from Gowin’s camp volunteered.
With the departure of Porozumenie, the PiS loses its absolute majority in parliament; now it all comes down to a minority government. This is a “real scenario,” PiS spokesman Radoslaw Fogiel told the Wirtualna Polska portal. “Governing in such a situation is difficult and uncomfortable, but not impossible.”
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki fired Deputy Prime Minister and Development Minister Gowin on Tuesday. Gowin then ended his group’s association with the PiS on his own initiative.
The background to this are internal conflicts about an economic stimulus plan and a new broadcasting law. The House of Representatives debated on Wednesday about the amendment to the Broadcasting Act, which makes it more difficult to grant licenses. That will be voted on tonight. It is unclear whether the PiS will achieve the required majority.
Gowin, 59, represents the conservative group Porozumenie (Understanding), which has so far formed an alliance with the PiS and another minor party called “United Rights”. Porozumenie had 12 of the 232 members of the government camp in parliament.
The official reason for Gowin’s resignation was that his group had not worked on reforming the PiS at a sufficient pace. Gowin had criticized massive tax hikes planned for a planned economic stimulus program.
The factual background, however, is the dispute about an amendment to the Broadcasting Act. The plans submitted by the PiS in July stipulate that broadcasting licenses can only be issued to foreigners if they “have their headquarters or residence in the European Economic Area”. In addition, the condition applies that the license holder may not be dependent on someone who has its head office or lives outside it.
According to critics, the law focuses on the private broadcaster TVN, which is part of the American group Discovery through a holding company registered in the Netherlands. The news channel TVN24 in particular takes a critical line about the PiS. Thousands of people took to the streets on Tuesday against the law. Gowin had criticized the novella.
With the departure of Porozumenie from the government alliance, the PiS loses its absolute majority in parliament. Your spokesman, Fogiel, nevertheless emphasized that this was not the end of the alliance. He was optimistic that the necessary votes would be gathered to pass the new broadcasting law. “When it comes to the majority in the Sejm, I am reassured.”
Polish media does not rule out the possibility that the PiS will try to gain the support of several defectors from Gowin’s camp, as well as the votes of the right-wing protest party Kukiz 15 and some non-attached MPs for the broadcasting law. Party leader Pawel Kukiz has already given his approval: There could never be such an opportunity to recolonize the media again, he said on social media.