Polish government to become two-centered

Disagreements over the distribution of power in a future Cabinet threatened on Tuesday to derail coalition talks between the two center-right parties expected to form the next Polish government. "We do not want to be in a coalition dominated by Law and Justice in which we would be blamed for all failures," said Konstanty Miodowicz, a top member of the Civic Platform party, suggesting his party could refuse to join a government with the socially conservative Law and Justice party.

Miodowicz said that if Civic Platform decides against the coalition "we would be a constructive opposition, supporting the government in all decisions that would serve the good interest of Poland."

The remarks raise the possibility that Law and Justice, which won 157 seats in the 460-seat parliament, might end up governing alone in a so-called minority government.

Minority governments are typically weak, forcing the Cabinet to scrape together support from lawmakers each time new legislation is proposed. There are concerns a government led by Law and Justice might end up reaching to the far-right fringes for support in some cases.

Miodowicz underlined, however, that talks within the party will continue on whether to build a coalition.

"We are spending the afternoon trying to solve the crisis that has emerged," Jan Rokita, another top Civic Platform figure, told reporters during a break of the meeting of party leaders. "I believe that a good government with Platform and Law and Justice will be formed. Please give us time."

Civic Platform came in just behind Law and Justice in Sept. 25 parliamentary elections and the two had discussed forming a coalition ahead of balloting. Formal negotiations on forming a government began Monday.

Yet even before talks began, there were signs of discord between the two center-right parties, following a presidential race which created a bitter rivalry between them and highlighted their differences on economic issues.

The immediate disagreements appeared to focus on Law and Justice's demand for control of the interior and justice ministries, as well as the security services, according to unofficial information circulating at the parliament that could not be immediately confirmed.

Rokita, without referring to specifics, said he had received new proposals from Law and Justice Tuesday that "weren't fully satisfactory."


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