Uproar in Warsaw: civil society breaks down Sejm barriers
Polish Civil Society Removes Barriers in Front of the Sejm Warsaw, Poland – In an unprecedented move, the Polish civil society has removed the barriers surrounding the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, marking the end of the populist right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party’s dominance in the country’s political life on the banks of the Vistula River. The police did not intervene in this spontaneous action.
The removal of the barriers, installed in December 2016 by the Kaczyński party, took place during the opening ceremony of the new Sejm, where the PiS failed to elect enough deputies to form a new government. All parliamentarians took their oath, and shortly after, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki resigned.
“Just two days ago, we celebrated the 105th anniversary of Poland’s independence. This is a celebration but also an obligation that suggests that independence must be protected and controlled,” declared Morawiecki, hinting that the PiS will use nationalist rhetoric in future parliamentary battles. In addition, Polish President Andrzej Duda entrusted Morawiecki with the formation of a government, despite not having the numbers to do so.
With Duda in the Belvedere Palace, the next government, composed of the liberals from Civic Coalition (PO), the centrists from Third Way, and the Left, will surely face considerable challenges.
The Polish president seeks continuity in the next executive branch in multiple areas, from armament programs to the introduction of nuclear energy in Poland, and strongly opposes any attempt to reduce the retirement age (65 for men and 60 for women). A presidential veto seems likely for any change of course in these areas.
Duda could also hinder the new government in other crucial matters, such as the restructuring of public media, which have fallen into the hands of the PiS in recent years, the “decommunization” of the judiciary, and the right to abortion.
Meanwhile, the Polish left announced yesterday that they have submitted two bills to legalize voluntary abortions up to the twelfth week and decriminalize abortion. “The legalization of abortion was not included in the coalition agreement. However, all leaders have declared their commitment in parliament to find a solution to improve the conditions of women in Poland,” explained Senator Magdalena Biejat from the Left. It will be discussed in the coming weeks when the coalition that defeated the PiS last month at the polls forms its own government.