New broom in Civic Coalition parliamentary caucus

The Civic Coalition (KO) Parliamentary Caucus has chosen Cezary Tomczyk a Civic Platform (PO) MP as its hew head. Mr Tomczyk replaces Borys Budka who stepped down from heading the KO Parliamentary caucus.

The PO is the biggest party in the KO. Other, much smaller, parties in the KO include “Modern”, the Greens and the centre-left “Polish Initiative”.

The KO parliamentary caucus elected Mr Tomczyk, the candidate supported by the leader of the PO Mr Budka, Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski and the smaller parties in the KO in a competitive contest. He was opposed by Urszula Augustyn, a candidate who had the support of the former PO leader Grzegorz Schetyna and his supporters.

Borys Budka gave up being head of the KO caucus following criticism of his handling of the issue of the failed attempt to raise the pay of state officials and MPs. The party had to make an embarrassing U-turn following a media and public outcry against substantial rises being proposed at a time of economic problems caused by the pandemic.

Cezary Tomczyk is a 36 year old MP from western Poland who was responsible for coordinating the presidential run of Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski. In the last government headed by the PO he was press spokesman for the then PM Ewa Kopacz. The fact that he was supported by both the party leader and the increasingly influential Mr Trzaskowski sealed his victory.

The KO and the party that dominates it, the PO, has not had a good two months since the presidential election. The debacle over MPs and state officials pay has been followed by problems Mr Trzaskowski has been having in Warsaw with a major environmental crisis caused by a leakage of sewage into the river Vistula and the failure of the party and Mr Trzaskowski to make good the promise of launching a new civic movement “New Solidarity” to attempt to unite the 10 million voters who in the second round of the presidential election voted for the Warsaw mayor.

As a result the KO ratings in the polls are stagnant at 20-25 percent. It is also being challenged for the centre and liberal vote by the “Poland 2050” movement which has been activated by the independent presidential candidate Szymon Hołownia who polled 14 percent in the first round of the presidential election.

The new broom in the parliamentary caucus has plenty of sweeping to do. Morale in the parliamentary caucus is low with several MPs actually briefing the media on the record over their disquiet. Mr Tomczyk has to get a grip fast and set a new course for the KO in Parliament.

And Mr Budka has to find a way of relaunching his PO leadership, which has also come under question as a result of the failures of the past two months.