Poland – A major defection within Poland’s ruling party PiS at regional level has provoked a palace revolution in the Silesia voivodship, where the party had a one-seat majority of 23 seats out of 45 in the regional council (“Sejmik”).
Jakub Chełstowski, the “marshal” (president) of this southern region bordering Czechia and Slovakia (corresponding to what used to be called Upper Silesia), recently decided – together with three other councillors (Rafał Kandziora, Maria Materla, and Alina Nowak) – to turn his back on Jarosław Kaczyński’s social-conservative party and join the ranks of the opposition, with a newly created group called “Tak! Dla Polski” (Yes! For Poland).
Chełstowski explained his departure from PiS, saying:
“It is, among other things, a question of policy towards the European Union. This anti-EU policy does not suit me. ”
A member of the Civic Platform (PO), Marek Gzik – a scientist, director of the European Centre for Innovative Health Technologies (EHTIC) at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice – has since been elected as head of the regional assembly. The Silesian branch of Donald Tusk’s liberal party quickly published an exultant tweet just after this happened on 21 November:
“Professor Marek Gzik is elected the new head of the Silesia’s assembly. PiS has lost power in the Silesian voivodship!”
It should be noted that this is not the first time the majority has changed due to political defections within this regional council. In fact, PiS won only 22 seats out of 45 in the 2018 regional elections. But then, on the day after the election, a councillor freshly elected from the opposition’s Civic Coalition (KO) list, Wojciech Kałuża, from the liberal progressive Nowoczesna (“Modern”) party, defected to PiS, allowing it to govern in Silesia for the next four years.