PM upstages opposition with confidence vote

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday evening secured a vote of confidence in his cabinet in the Sejm (lower house of the parliament). The move preempted the opposition’s motion of no confidence that was due to be debated later in the week.

On Wednesday morning, PM asked Parliament for the vote of confidence in order “to continue reforms” and to test whether he has a majority in Parliament. “Ahead of the EU summit in Brussels I need to be sure I have a mandate to govern”, he said.

Parliament moved at a fast pace with the PM’s address being followed by questions from MPs. The move was a gambit to render null and void an opposition motion of constructive no confidence that was due to be debated this week.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) had a comfortable majority in the Parliament and the result of this vote was not in doubt: the vote was backed by 231 MPs in the 460-seat lower house.

The vote of confidence in the government effectively stops the opposition’s candidate for Prime Minister Grzegorz Schetyna from being able to make a highly visible pitch in Parliament with his motion of constructive no confidence.

This is the fifth case since the end of the Communist era in 1989 when the incumbent PM has submitted a vote of confidence in his government to parliament, with the last having come in 2014 under the government of Donald Tusk. In each of the five cases, parliament voted in support of the incumbent PM and his cabinet.