Poland’s justice minister survives no-confidence vote

Government’s internal conflicts have again been revealed

Jo Harper  | 14.12.2022 - Update : 14.12.2022
Poland’s justice minister survives no-confidence vote Credit:


Poland’s justice minister narrowly survived a confidence vote in parliament Tuesday, keeping the ruling United Right (ZP) coalition intact but again exposing internal divisions ahead of parliamentary elections in 2023.  

Zbigniew Ziobro, as justice minister and leader of the Solidary Poland (SP) party, a junior partner in the coalition, is a key architect of reforms of the judiciary that have irked the European Union and led to its freezing of multi-billion-euro payments to cover Poland’s post-COVID national recovery plan. 

A total of 226 members of parliament (MPs) voted for the motion of no confidence in Ziobro late Tuesday, with 228 against and three abstaining. 

But longstanding divisions between the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and SP appear likely to rumble on. 

Before Tuesday’s vote, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki -- a fierce foe of Ziobro within the government -- was critical of the post-2015 judicial reforms in an interview with the Sieci weekly. 

“We can't have more chaos and problems than we currently have in the judiciary,” he said. “The judiciary has been brought to a state of semi-collapse, and I think it will vegetate until there is some improvement, and maybe a broader consent to change. Today it is worse than it used to be,” he said. 

The leader of Poland’s main opposition party, Civic Platform (PO), Donald Tusk, sought to frame the vote as a de facto judgment on Poland’s future in the EU. 

“Europe is about rights. This government, and minister Ziobro, have become a symbol of breaking these rights, (and) are doing everything to lead Poland out of Europe, Europe as a space of rights and standards, from fundamental civil rights to the rule of law and international law,” he said in the Senate. 

Tusk said that anyone who attacks the EU or plans Poland's exit exposes the entire continent to the threat of war. 

“I am appealing to everyone who sees Poland in Europe, who understands that a European Poland is a truly independent, safe and prosperous Poland,” he said. 

During the parliamentary debate, Tusk’s colleagues in PO were also scathing of Ziobro. 

“Ziobro is a minister of justice who de facto robs his own people. He is possessed of a hatred of the European Union and democracy. His are a continuous series of decisions that have led our homeland to stand in line with pro-Putin Hungary," PO MP Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz said.​​​​​​​ 

She said it was because of Ziobro that Poland had not received funds from the National Reconstruction Plan.

"If Minister Ziobro had even an ounce of honor, he would resign himself," added Gasiuk-Pihowicz.

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