The fortnight government and the wind of change (27 November – 3 December 2023)

by | Dec 6, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Mateusz Morawiecki presented his new cabinet to the president and got two weeks to receive a vote of confidence from the parliament. But even president Andrzej Duda seems to believe he will soon be asked to swear in another cabinet, led by Donald Tusk. At the same time the opposition found itself accused of complying with the interests of wind power industry in what has been already dubbed Turbinegate.

Prime minister Morawiecki presented his almost completely refreshed council of ministers to the president in the afternoon of 27 November. Not all new ministers were actually new. Mariusz Błaszczak, who previously said he will not be joining the “fortnight cabinet”, remained on a seat of the minister of defence. Aside from him and Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, most of the new ministers were previously deputy ministers or undersecretaries in their respective departments. As it has been announced, more than half of the cabinet are women. 

The main criticism of the new cabinet focuses on the costs it will generate despite being in government for only two weeks. Each of the 18 ministers will be entitled to a salary and, after the cabinet is dissolved, a severance payment. According to some estimations, the overall sum could be as low as almost 800,000 PLN (160 000 GBP) or as high as 3,3 million PLN (660 000 GBP), if it will include deputy ministers. 

But the public attention has been already refocusing on the upcoming government of Donald Tusk and the first decisions of the new parliamentary majority. The coalition parties have already started to establish their own order. On 29 November, Sejm dismissed members of the committee investigating Russian influence on the Polish internal security. The committee was established by Law and Justice earlier this year in a move that was interpreted as an attempt to attack the opposition in general, and Donald Tusk in particular. Despite the fact that the act establishing the committee has been considered unconstitutional by legal experts, the committee itself was not dissolved. Just before the vote, the outgoing members presented their report which recommended prohibiting opposition leaders, including Donald Tusk, from public offices. The report was dismissed as hastily drafted and erroneous as it mistook diplomats from allied countries for members of Russian Federal Securit Force.

Yet another reversal of Law and Justice policy proved to be at least as controversial. On 28 November a group of the Third Way and Civic Coalition MPs submitted a legislatory proposal to extend the energy prices freeze. But the draft included changes on the wind farms which would make easier to build new turbines as close as 300 meters from residential areas. The distance is currently set at 1500 meters. The provision was interpreted, in particular by Law and Justice, as influenced by the wind power industry lobbyists. Eventually, the Sejm marshal Szymon Hołownia announced that the wind turbines regulations will be moved to a separate new act.

Donald Tusk, who might not be happy about these developments, has been restraining himself from commenting on the current affairs, using his X/Twitter account to post pictures of a snowman and a short video of himself an his granddaughter looking at Santa Clause parade in Gdańsk. It is expected that in the morning on 11 December Mateusz Morawiecki will present his expose – his government’s program – and will be voted out in the afternoon. Tusk announced that he will then present his program to the parliament on the next day, and on 13 December will be sworn in by the president. Andrzej Duda confirmed that he will not be trying to prolong this process.

The views and perspectives expressed in this post are solely those of the author.

Photo by Jakub Zerdzicki: