CZ/SK verze

Polish President Vetoes Government Decision; Political Uncertainty Rises

Polish President Vetoes Government Decision; Political Uncertainty Rises
photo: Andrzej Duda / Flickr/Andrzej Duda
15 / 01 / 2024

The Polish President Andrzej Duda announced just before the Christmas holidays that he will veto the technical accompanying law on the state budget.

According to Duda, it is unacceptable to budget PLN 3 billion for the newly established public media in this way, especially when the new government has flagrantly violated the Constitution and the principles of the democratic rule of law. He stated that the public service media must first be properly and lawfully corrected, and they can't be funded by a parliamentary majority through a budget law.

The Polish President's veto can only be overridden by 3/5 of the Sejm, and the Tusk government currently holds only 248 out of 460 MPs. Additionally, the constitution mandates that the approved state budget law must be received by the president by January 29 at the latest (4 months after the start of its discussion in parliament). However, the president can still send the budget bill to the Constitutional Court for review, potentially delaying approval and, as per the constitution, could dissolve parliament and call new elections within two weeks. In response, the government submitted a new budget bill immediately after the New Year, excluding funding for the media and instead earmarking PLN 3 billion for a program to treat children with cancer and mental illness. The President also submitted his own bill, but it did not pass in the Sejm's budget committee.

Konrad Krajewski / Flickr

This political deadlock has also slowed down the large-scale replacements of top executives of state-owned enterprises and their supervisory boards. In the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, deputy ministers' positions, appointed by the Prime Minister on the Minister's proposal, are being gradually filled according to the party coalition key.

Surprisingly, the government and the People's Party's Transport Minister Dariusz Klimczak entrusted railway transport to Piotr Malepszak, a non-partisan candidate with experience working for Civic Coalition politicians. Malepszak, from a family of railwaymen, has worked at PKP PLK, the infrastructure arm of the state railway holding company, and was involved in revitalizing railway lines. He also served in the railway section of CPK, responsible for preparing and constructing high-speed railways in Poland, and worked as an expert for the President of the City of Gdańsk and the Lower Silesia Regional Railway. The transport ministry's budget will be handled by Przemyslaw Koperski, an MP for the Left Party, and road transport by Paweł Gancarz, a People's Party member with local government experience.

Arkadiusz Marchewka, a Civic Coalition MP and deputy chairman of the parliamentary infrastructure committee, will become the first deputy, in charge of inland and maritime waterway transport and civil aviation. The first changes in the structure of PKP and other state-owned companies have been gradual so far due to the ongoing political uncertainty. The first general meeting of shareholders is scheduled for January at PKP PLK Trakce SA, where its chairman and CEO Artur Szumisz resigned at the end of the year.