Polish government on the brink of collapse – dispute over broadcasting law | free press


Warsaw (dpa) – In Poland, the national-conservative government alliance of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is coming to an end.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin ended his group’s cooperation with the ruling party PiS after Morawiecki’s resignation that evening in Warsaw. After six years of joint governance, Gowin told TVN24 that they had been kicked out of the alliance. This means the end of the project.

Background: Amendment of the Broadcasting Act

The 59-year-old represents the conservative group Porozumenie (Understanding), which has so far formed an alliance with the PiS and another minor party called “United Rights”. Gowin was Minister of Development and Deputy Head of Government until his resignation. The official reason was that Gowin and the members of his group had not worked sufficiently to reform the PiS. However, the factual background is a 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. Voting will take place next Wednesday.

PiS-critical news channel

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. That evening, the dismissed Deputy Prime Minister spoke. Almost simultaneously, several thousand people took to the streets against the law in several Polish cities.

After being evicted, Gowin renewed his criticism of the law change. This could bring Poland into conflict with its main ally, the US. “There is something symbolic about the fact that my resignation was announced at a time when there were protests all over Poland against a law not accidentally called ‘Lex TVN’.”

The politician answered evasively when asked who his group wanted to collaborate with. “We are open to working with anyone who shares our values,” he said. Whether the PiS retains an absolute majority in parliament may depend on the voting behavior of its group members.

Government spokesman Piotr Müller said he did not think the PiS government would lose its majority. The real strongman in Polish politics is PiS boss Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is also Deputy Prime Minister.