Coalition's majority hanging by thread after Gowin resignation
PR dla Zagranicy
Jaroslaw Gowin, the former justice minister sacked from Poland's ruling Civic Platform-led government, has resigned from the party, reducing the coalition's majority in parliament to two.
Jaroslaw Gowin exits Civic Platform: photo - PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowsk
“I reached a point where my loyalty to the party was in conflict with my loyalty to Poles,” Krakow MP Jaroslaw Gowin, who unsuccessfully challenged Prime Minister Donald Tusk for the leadership of the centre-right Civic Platform earlier this month, told journalists on Monday.
Gowin – a social conservative and free marketeer who was sacked as justice minister after conflicts with Tusk over social and economic policy – said the proposed changes to the pension system was a step too far for him to remain in the party.
He added that he will remain in parliament, joining John Godson, who also resigned from Civic Platform this month, as an independant MP.
Godson abstained with the former minister and one other Civic Platform politician over a government bill to change the 2013 budget law.
PM Tusk had said that any more breaks with party discipline would lead to the rebel MPs being kicked out of Civic Platform.
Gowin's resignation leaves the ruling coalition, including MPs from the junior Polish Peasants Party (PSL) with 232 out of 460 members of the lower house of parliament (Sejm).
The other MP to abstain on the budget vote, Jacek Zalek, said he would comment on Gowin's resignation on Tuesday.
The next general election in Poland is scheduled for 2015 but another resignation from Civic Platform would make pushing through legislation on some issues difficult for PM Tusk.
The former justice minister said he would vote on most issues with the government but vowed to “defend the roots of the party”, which he has defined as being based on traditional social values and a free market.
Mariusz Błaszczak, a senior MP for Law and Justice (PiS), the largest opposition party in the lower house, said Gowin's resignation is proof of the “disintegration of Civic Platform”.
“Civic Platform is a mess. The question is: how many others will follow in Gowin's footsteps,” Blaszczak asked. (pg)