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Poland’s coalition leader stresses importance of new reform

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the Law and Justice and leader and a man regarded as Poland’s most powerful politician, has described the Polish New Deal as an is “an important document,” hammered out during long coalition talks.

On Saturday, the United Right, of which Law and Justice is the dominant part, unveiled a new reform programme, dubbed the New Deal, which aims to reform the Polish healthcare system, support families and low-earners, launch a large-scale housing programme, foster energy transition and reduce pollution.

All three parties forming the conservative coalition approved the reform.

Speaking to public broadcasters Polish Radio One and PR24 on Wednesday, Kaczynski expressed hope that the parties’ signatures will put an end to infighting in the coalition that has threatened its future.

Law and Justice has clashed with its two smaller allies, the more liberal Agreement and the nationalist Solidary Poland, over a number of issues, including the presidential elections and ratification of a major EU recovery programme.

“It is an important document preceded by talks and meetings outside Warsaw, featuring long debates that often lasted more than one day,” the Law and Justice leader said. “So it is a document that was signed… after long deliberation and dialogue, and this is the reason for its weight.”

At the signing ceremony Kaczynski said that other people can sign it too, but in the Wednesday interview he refused to reveal who he had meant.

“I believe we’ll see a slight transformation of the (ruling) camp,” Kaczynski hinted.

Kaczynski also dismissed fears that the European EUR 750 billion post-pandemic recovery fund will make Poland overly dependent on the EU. Solidary Poland had refused to support the government over the fund, claiming it would undermine Polish sovereignty.

“We need to accept certain realities and today there is a trend that could be described as building a new order, and to reject it would mean being left on the margins and other problems,” Kaczynski said.

Admitting that the new EU agreement, which aims to stimulate coronavirus-battered EU economies, is a difficult and risky undertaking, Kaczynski said that “it is still worth participating in the project… even at a certain price.”

The ruling camp’s leader also dismissed concerns that there could be a leadership dispute between himself and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Kaczynski is also a deputy prime minister, so formally a subordinate to Morawiecki.

“I accept that the prime minister is the prime minister, and I am the party leader,” he said. “When we take part in a government sitting, he is the boss. If we are at a meeting of the party authorities, I am.

“We’re cooperating and it’s going on well,” Kaczynski continued. “I’m very pleased that… near the end of my political career I found someone like the prime minister.”

But he also admitted that he will run for party leadership at the upcoming party congress.

Kaczynski went on to say that he could imagine further cooperation with one of the United Right’s staunch opponents, the Left.

Law and Justice won the backing of the Left to help it ratify the EU post-pandemic recovery fund, despite major ideological differences between them.

“I can see the possibility of cooperation, especially on social issues, as we are a pro-social party, and the Left also declares that,” Kaczynski said, but ruled out any compromise on moral issues, including relations with the Church and promoting LGBTI rights.

Commenting on the recent problems of the United Right’s main adversary in parliament, the centrist Civic Platform (PO), Kaczynski refused to support the view that PO is a spent political force.

There has been a split in PO recently, with 54 MPs having written a letter to the party leadership contesting the direction of changes in the party’s policy.

“At the moment I’m very far from saying that the fate of the Civic Platform is already determined, as I have my own experiences: I was in a political grave so many times and somehow I managed to get out of it,” Kaczynski said.

“However, without some far-reaching changes in the Platform, it’s downhill for them,” he added.

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