Polish governing coalition frays

Krakow, Poland, Aug 10 (EFE).- The future of Poland’s right-wing governing coalition looked uncertain Tuesday after one of the junior partners withdrew in response to the abrupt ouster of its leader from the Cabinet.

“My dismissal is the result of my loyalty to the Polish people,” Accord leader Jaroslaw Gowin said after he learned via the media that he had been removed from the post of deputy prime minister for insufficient loyalty to the agenda of Premier Mateusz Morawiecki.

“This is, in fact, the rupture of the coalition government and the end of the United Right,” Gowin told a press conference.

If the 10 Accord members of the lower house of parliament join Gowin in repudiating the coalition led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, the government would be left with only 222 of the 460 seats.

“The actions of Deputy Prime Minister Gowin undermine confidence in the government’s actions,” Morawiecki administration spokesman Piotr Müller told a press conference earlier Tuesday.

“I am not convinced that we will lose our majority,” the spokesman said. “I am sure that there are people in the United Right and the rest of the Polish parliament who will support the beneficial reforms that we are proposing.”

Müller was referring to Morawiecki’s draft budget, which Accord says will entail raising taxes on people who are self-employed.

Gowin, however, said that Accord was quitting the coalition “with our heads held high.”

“We said that the United Right would not raise taxes. But the proposed budget law recently presented by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki means a drastic increase in taxes,” he said.

Accord also disagrees with PiS over the judicial overhaul that has brought Warsaw into confrontation with the European Union and with a move to bar foreign ownership of media which would affect the main private television network.

TVN is owned by Discovery, Inc., a media group based in the United States. Critics suggest that the government’s aim is to compel Discovery to sell the network to investors aligned with PiS.

Gowin said Monday that the US government had conveyed a clear message that enactment of the law targeting TVN would result in a “freezing” of bilateral political and economic relations.

The perceived threat to the continued independence of TVN brought thousands of people onto the streets of the capital and other Polish cities on Tuesday to protest against the plan.

Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who was president of the European Council from 2014-2019 and now leads the center-right Civic Platform, was part of a “free media” demonstration outside parliament in Warsaw. EFE mag-jpm/dr

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