Poland’s prime minister resigns

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 Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki offered his conservative government’s resignation on Monday as required as the newly elected parliament met for the first time in a transition of power following an election last month.

An alliance of pro-European Union parties vowing to restore democratic standards won a parliamentary majority in the Oct. 15 election and are expected to take power, but they will still have to wait, perhaps up to four weeks. Their candidate for prime minister is Donald Tusk, the centrist and pro-EU former prime minister.

Poland’s conservative President Andrzej Duda, who is allied with Morawiecki’s right-wing Law and Justice party, is asking Morawiecki to try to build another government and will reappoint him as a prime minister candidate on Monday evening.

Morawiecki in an address to parliament expressed a desire to build a new government that transcends party divisions. When he appealed for support, his critics responded with laughter.

Duda, whose term runs for another year and a half, is expected to have a difficult relationship with the new legislature. He has already angered the winning coalition by asking Morawiecki to try to build a government.

Duda called on the legislature to rise above divisions but warned that he would use his power of the presidential veto to defend “controversial” solutions.

“The constitutional order must be preserved, I will not agree to any circumvention or bending of the law,” Duda said, to some laughter. Law and Justice and Duda himself have been accused by critics of violating procedures in recent years.

Tusk and his allies accuse Duda of disrespecting the will of the voters by not giving it a first chance at governing. His coalition vows to rebuild the legal order in Poland and bolster foreign alliances and security at a time of war in neighboring Ukraine.

Tusk says his future government will work to obtain billions of euros in EU funding that were frozen due to Law and Justice’s laws that were criticized as eroding the independence of the courts.

Law and Justice received 194 seats in the 460-member Sejm. The winning coalition holds 248 seats. It includes parties ranging from conservatives to the left. They ran separately but promise to work together after eight years of Law and Justice rule.

Lawmakers are later due to choose a speaker. The coalition says its choice is Szymon Holownia, the conservative leader of the Poland 2050 party and a rising star in politics.

The 100-seat Senate, where the Tusk-led alliance won an overwhelming majority, holds its first session Monday afternoon.

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