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Polish ruling party leaders meet amid coalition tensions

Polish ruling party leaders hold an emergency meeting on Monday that could result in a split of the nationalist coalition, lawmakers have said, amid disagreements over long-term policy plans and the coronavirus pandemic.

Reuters | Warsaw | Updated: 21-09-2020 15:13 IST | Created: 21-09-2020 15:08 IST
Polish ruling party leaders meet amid coalition tensions
File Photo Image Credit: Wikimedia

Polish ruling party leaders hold an emergency meeting on Monday that could result in a split of the nationalist coalition, lawmakers have said, amid disagreements over long-term policy plans and the coronavirus pandemic. Tensions have approached boiling point in recent weeks as a small coalition party headed by ultra-conservative Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro demanded the government take a tougher stance against gay rights and EU climate policy.

The parties also disagree over animal rights, and government plans to give officials immunity from prosecution for decisions taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The main coalition party, Law and Justice, says Warsaw needs to be more pragmatic so as not to further strain relations with the European Union, already tense over Brussels' accusations PiS is subverting the rule of law.

"Today the situation is that there is no coalition and we will be discussing within PiS what's next. All scenarios are on the table," Krzysztof Sobolewski, a top official at PiS, told public radio on Monday. Sobolewski and other PiS representatives indicated that a minority government and then snap election was a possible scenario, although the situation is "dynamic", he said.

"It is difficult to imagine a minority government functioning for the next three years," the prime minister's chief of staff, Michal Dworczyk, told private television broadcaster TVN24. Dworczyk also said the head of PiS, Poland's de facto leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, could become prime minister or deputy prime minister. The PiS-led coalition holds 235 of the 460 seats in the lower house and would lose its majority without United Poland, which has 17 seats.

The coalition parties are seen as anxious to avoid a new election. If one were held now, polls show PiS would fall short of a majority and its two smaller coalition partners would fail to meet the threshold to win seats.


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