WARSAW: Expectations for Poland’s pro-EU government which is due to take power next week are sky-high but current ruling nationalists will still be a powerful and influential opposition, analysts say.
A coalition of pro-EU parties headed up by former European Council President Donald Tusk won a majority in parliamentary elections on Oct. 15 against the right-wing populist Law and Justice party, also known as PiS.
Tusk, who is also a former prime minister, will have his work cut out after eight years of PiS in power.
“There won’t be any miracles” as the new government faces daily battles with PiS which “will continue to fight,” Jaroslaw Kuisz, a political analyst, said.
“It will be like going through mud” and quick change is unlikely as PiS leaves “a judicial minefield,” he said.
PiS will be the biggest single party in the new parliament with 194 out of 460 seats in the lower house and has shown it intends to be a combative opposition.
The party also has allies in the presidency, the central bank and the supreme court, as well as several important judicial and financial state institutions.
It also dominates state media organizations, which have become a government mouthpiece during its rule.
Analysts speak of a “spider’s web” woven by PiS by putting allies in influential roles with mandates that will last long into the new government’s tenure.
President Andrzej Duda is due to step down ahead of a presidential election in 2025 but he could use blocking tactics between now and then, vetoing legislation brought to him by the pro-EU majority in parliament.
The head of state gave an insight into his intentions by initially nominating the PiS Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to form a new government even though it was clear the party had no majority from the outset. He effectively gave PiS two more months in power.
Tusk has reacted angrily, saying on Friday that PiS has spent its last few weeks in power “wreaking havoc, destroying the Polish state.”
Kuisz said the party has used the time “to reinforce itself institutionally and financially.”
PiS has named two former ministers to head up important state financial institutions and new prosecutors.
The president has also approved 150 new judges nominated by a body that was criticized by the EU as being too much under the influence of PiS.
Controversial judicial reforms introduced by PiS have pushed Brussels to freeze billions of euros in funding destined for Warsaw which Tusk wants to unblock.