"Morawiecki's nativity play": How the PiS is delaying the change in Poland

With a satisfied grin, Poland's President Andrzej Duda signs the certificate of appointment for the new national-conservative PiS government of Mateusz Morawiecki.

"Morawiecki's nativity play": How the PiS is delaying the change in Poland

With a satisfied grin, Poland's President Andrzej Duda signs the certificate of appointment for the new national-conservative PiS government of Mateusz Morawiecki. He then holds the red-bound document up to the cameras. Applause. The ceremonial appointment in the presidential palace is pure theater. Because Morawiecki's PiS has no majority in the new parliament - and no coalition partner either.

Someone else won the parliamentary election on October 15th: former EU Council President Donald Tusk. He has a three-way alliance of pro-European parties with a clear parliamentary majority behind him. The coalition agreement has been signed and the division of departments has been finalized. Tusk could get started right away.

Nevertheless, on Monday afternoon, Duda swore in a cabinet with no chance, which, apart from Morawiecki and Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, includes many little-known politicians. Duda says he is pleased about the high proportion of women and the many young people in the cabinet. It sounds almost cynical: women and young people allowed themselves to be burned for a suicide mission, some critics say.

Media mocks the “two-week government”

In 14 days at the latest, Morawiecki will have to ask parliament for a vote of confidence - and his cabinet will fail resoundingly. Polish media mocks the "two-week government" and "Morawiecki's nativity play."

The Poles have been witnessing this bizarre staging by the PiS for more than seven weeks. It is actually clear to everyone that Donald Tusk will ultimately take over the government. But the right-wing populists, who have ruled the country since 2015, are still clinging to their seats even after losing power.

In Brussels and Berlin people are waiting hopefully for the change of government in Warsaw. The PiS was in constant conflict with the EU Commission over its judicial reform, and the federal government was annoying it with its demand for trillions in world war reparations. Tusk and his colleagues, on the other hand, stand for a pro-European course and a more conciliatory policy towards Germany. The 66-year-old from Gdańsk was Poland's head of government from 2007 to 2014.

It could take until just before Christmas before he becomes one again. The PiS is pursuing several goals with its delaying tactics. She wants to ruin the start of Tusk - an arch-enemy of party leader Jaroslaw Kacznyski. She can use the time to maneuver protégés into lucrative positions. Polish media also report that a lot of data material is currently being destroyed in the ministries. First and foremost, the PiS wants to save its image in front of its own voters, says political scientist Antoni Dudek. "This is a demonstration that the party is fighting and not giving up." If the new PiS government fails in parliament as expected, party leader Kaczynski will likely explain to the electorate that Donald Tusk is to blame for putting pressure on MPs to refuse to support Morawiecki.

The PiS is not considered capable of forming a coalition

The PiS has an ally for its maneuvers in the presidential palace. Head of state Duda himself comes from their ranks. It was he who gave the task of forming a government to Morawiecki despite the majority in parliament. And Duda apparently wants to use all the deadlines provided for in the constitution to the maximum.

The PiS became the stronger faction in the election with 194 of 460 seats, but is not considered capable of forming a coalition. For weeks, Morawiecki gave hints about alleged exploratory talks with the previous opposition parties and individual MPs. But he heard it from all camps: We are not holding any talks and we do not want a coalition with the PiS. "We have to face the sad fact that someone who talks to people who don't exist will be Poland's head of government for another two weeks," sneered Szymon Holownia, leader of the Third Way and newly elected parliamentary speaker.

From the moment he is sworn in, Morawiecki has until December 11th to ask for the vote of confidence. Parliament Speaker Holownia expects that the new government of Donald Tusk could take office on December 11th or 12th. But here too, President Duda has the final say. His office said the president wanted to swear in Tusk on December 13th. That would be further evil. Because on December 13, 1981, the communist regime at the time declared martial law - a black hour in Poland's history.