Deputy speaker, three ministers survive no-confidence motion

Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

A deputy speaker of the Polish Sejm (lower house) and three government ministers survived a no-confidence motion in parliament on Wednesday night.

The Sejm, Poland's lower house of parliament, on late Wednesday night rebuffed opposition attempts to dismiss Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Ryszard Terlecki, Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński, State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin and Michał Dworczyk, head of the Prime Minister's Office.

All of them are from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

The motion to dismiss Terlecki was submitted by the Civic Coalition (KO), The Left and the Poland 2050 parliamentary caucuses owing to his critical remarks about Belarusian opposition activist Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Terlecki, on Twitter, had criticised Tsikhanouskaya for her planned participation in an event organised by a movement founded by Rafał Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw and a key opposition figure, in late August or early September.

"If Tsikhanouskaya wants to promote the anti-democratic opposition in Poland and attend the meeting sponsored by Trzaskowski, let her seek aid in Moscow," Terlecki wrote.

The KO caucus also had formally submitted motions of no confidence in the three government ministers after the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) notified prosecutors of possible crimes committed by them and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki while organising a failed presidential election on May 10, 2020.

The election was supposed to have taken place in a postal format due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ultimately, the plan collapsed after one of the parties in the governing coalition declined to support it.

Despite its cancellation, the postal vote plan still cost taxpayers tens of millions of zlotys.

"It was these ministers, together and in agreement, who wanted to ensure that elections in Poland were held in an absolutely illegal and non-constitutional manner," KO representatives said while announcing the motions on May 26.

Following the vote, government spokesman Piotr Mueller told journalists: "This is very good news. We witnessed a stable parliamentary majority in the Sejm, a stable majority of the United Right (ruling coalition – PAP)… We will further continue to implement the Polish New Deal, this is the major priority."

A flagship project of the PiS-led government, the Polish New Deal plan is aimed at reviving the national economy after the Covid-19 pandemic. It envisages major investment in public infrastructure along with overhauls of the tax and healthcare systems.