Sroka named new leader of Agreement, ruling coalition defector

Magdalena Sroka has replaced Jarosław Gowin at the helm of Agreement (Porozumienie) party. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Magdalena Sroka has replaced Jarosław Gowin at the helm of Agreement (Porozumienie) party after he resigned from the post.

Gowin and his Agreement were part of the ruling United Right coalition from 2015 to 2021. Gowin served as deputy prime minister, as well as being a development minister. Agreement left the ruling coalition in August 2021 after Gowin was dismissed over his criticism of the government's economic reforms and his opposition to holding presidential elections by post early during the pandemic.

The dismissal of Gowin put the government’s parliamentary majority in jeopardy at the time, however, some of his colleagues subsequently defected to form the Republican Party and OdNowa (Renewal) and in October 2021 the two groupings were brought into the coalition fold by governing conservatives.

Gowin told the Extraordinary Congress of Agreement held in Warsaw on Saturday that in the spring "talks... will be finalised on the constellation in which the opposition will go to the elections" scheduled for Autumn 2023 and that it is "extremely important" because the goal is to "remove PiS (the backbone party of the ruling coalition - PAP) from power."

"It is very important that we are represented in these talks by someone else, someone new, someone who is not burdened with these difficult compromises and these difficult decisions that I have made.... hence I want to submit my resignation as president of Agreement today," Gowin said.

He also said that Agreement, while still part of the United Right ruling coalition, made the mistake of supporting the judicial reform, which is now the main reason behind

EU blocking Poland's access to EU recovery funding.

"I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and these are not idle words." Gowin said.

Sroka, the new leader, told the Saturday congress that Agreement will be part of the new centre-right.

"We have to stop the direction in which PiS is leading Poland today. We have to stop it for our children, for our families, for future generations, and as I stand here, I promise you that we will do everything we can together to make it happen," she said.

"I'm convinced it will happen and that Agreement has a lot to offer and will play an important role in the near future" she added.

Agreement is currently represented in the lower house of parliament by five MPs.