In Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s national-conservative government alliance is on the brink of collapse. The previous Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin terminated his group’s collaboration with the ruling party PiS after Morawiecki’s dismissal in Warsaw. After six years of joint governance, Gowin told TVN24 that they were thrown out of the alliance. This means de facto the end of the project. The top of his party will officially make a decision on Wednesday.
The 59-year-old represents the conservative group Porozumenie (Understanding), which has so far formed an alliance with the PiS and another small party under the name “United Rights”. Gowin was development minister and vice head of government until his dismissal. The official reason was that Gowin and the members of his group had not worked sufficiently on reforms of the PiS. The actual background, however, is a dispute over a change in the Broadcasting Act.
The change introduced by the PiS in July provides that broadcasting licenses can only be issued to foreigners if they “have their headquarters or their place of residence in the European Economic Area”. In addition, the condition applies that the licensee must not be dependent on someone who is headquartered or resides outside of it.
According to critics, the law targets the private broadcaster TVN, which is part of the US group Discovery through a holding company registered in the Netherlands. The news channel TVN24 in particular takes a line that is critical of the PiS.
Several thousand people took to the streets against the law in various Polish cities on Tuesday evening. Parliament wants to vote on it on Wednesday.
A government spokesman was confident that the coalition would have a sufficient majority in parliament even after Gowin’s dismissal. Some MPs from his party should continue to support the government’s reform plans, he said. The two coalition partners had also argued over planned tax reforms. Morawiecki’s PiS party has declared that the vast majority of the population will benefit from it. However, Gowin’s side said the reforms would hit the middle class and fuel inflation.
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