Poland – A month and a half after Law and Justice’s Pyrrhic victory in the Polish parliamentary elections, with all observers predicting a very short life for Mateusz Morawiecki’s new government that was sworn in on November 27, the Polish Sejm seems determined not only to turn the page on the last two legislatures, when the United Right coalition led by Jarosław Kaczyński’s party enjoyed an absolute majority, but also to launch a witch-hunt against the former conservative majority.
Cordon sanitaire policy
The new anti-PiS majority made up of liberals, centrists, and leftist MPs began violating the customs of parliamentary democracy by not appointing Law and Justice’s candidates to the posts of deputy marshal (vice-president) of the Sejm and of the Senate, respectively. Thus, the presidencies of both chambers do not have any representative of the biggest party in their ranks. In the Sejm, which is the lower house of the Polish parliament, the presidency is now made up of Marshal (president, or speaker) Szymon Hołownia (Polska 2050); two members of the Civic Platform (PO); one member of the PSL agrarian party; one member of the New Left, Włodzimierz Czarzasty; and a member of the right-wing Konfederacja party. Apart from Konfederacja, all the represented parties belong to the coalition supporting Donald Tusk for prime minister.
Six investigation committees to look into PiS’ management
Apart from this, the country’s leading party, which won 35.38% of the vote on October 15 and has 194 deputies in the Sejm – more than any other party – is going to be the target of no fewer than six investigation committees tasked by the anti-PiS coalition with scrutinizing the United Right’s governance between 2015 and 2023:
- one for the visa scandal;
- one for the plan to hold a presidential election exclusively via mail-in voting during the Covid-19 pandemic;
- one on the use of Israel’s Pegasus spyware;
- one on subsidies for the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR);
- one on the use of public funds (in particular the Justice Fund); and
- one on the Morawiecki government’s Covid policy.
This is raising eyebrows in the PiS camp, with a member of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s entourage declaring: “Let them create ten committees at once; why should they limit themselves to six? Such an explosion of committees will do them more harm than good. From a practical point of view, they won’t benefit from it.” This is being taken seriously on the new majority’s side, however, and their declared intention is that these parliamentary investigations should lead to concrete prosecutions within the next few months.
This was something Law and Justice itself failed to achieve when it created special parliamentary committees after its 2015 victory to investigate the biggest scandals that had marred the years of Donald Tusk’s various governments at the head of a PO-PSL coalition.