Ruling party gains control of Silesia province

Head of the Prime Minister's office Michał Dworczyk (r), deputy energy minister Grzegorz Tobiszowski (l) and councilor Wojciech Kałuża (c), the latter of whom agreed to a provincial coalition with the ruling party despite being a mamber of the opposition Modern party. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

Law and Justice (PiS) have gained control of the Silesia (Śląsk) province as a result of a defection by one of the Civic Coalition’s (KO) council members. The ruling party is now in control of eight provinces.

Up until yesterday it looked as if a broad coalition of the KO, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish People’s Party (PSL) who together had 23 members against 22 for PiS, would rule the province. However, now that a KO council member from the Modern party has defected, it is PiS which holds the majority in the province.

PiS will be delighted with this development. The Silesia province is the second largest in the country, a key urban and industrial centre of Poland.

Provincial authorities control the allocation of considerable EU funding in their regions. As a result of the local government elections, the ruling party now holds power in eight of these powerful regional authorities.

The opposition KO will be mortified by this development. They were very relieved earlier in the week when together with the PSL they managed to hold on to the biggest province, Mazowsze. The defeat in Silesia will lead to the Civic Platform (PO), the major party in the KO coalition, to ask questions about the way the Modern party selects its candidates.

Now that both the opposition and the ruling party control several provincial authorities, a local government lobby may become more significant inside the ruling party. The government may now be more interested in channeling funds through the provincial authorities.