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Polish coalition government teeters on the brink

September 18, 2020

An animal welfare law change has brought Poland's five-year-old right-wing coalition government close to collapse. Junior coalition partners have voted against the ruling Law and Justice party lines.

The Polish Parliament
Image: Imago/R. Unkel

Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) said Friday it could form a minority government after its coalition partners voted against an animal welfare bill.

Senior PiS politician Marek Suski told TVN24 television that defiance by two junior partners had "ended the coalition." 

Piotr Muller, spokesman for the United Right — a PiS satellite party, which appeals to more conservative voters — said "any option is now possible, both with a minority government and early elections."

PiS party leader in Parliament Ryszard Terlecki said the party would deliberate on Monday on how to proceed, but described the coalition as practically non-existent."

Read more: Opinion: Duda's reelection in Poland will deepen divisions

What caused the rift?

Strains emerged publicly this week when PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski sought a cabinet reshuffle to reduce ministry numbers and ostensibly efficiencies. 

United Poland, with 19 seats, and the Accord party, with 18 seats had refused back the animal rights bill submitted by Kaczynski, who is known for his love of cats.

Instead, Parliament on Friday passed the controversial bill with support of the liberal opposition.

The bill, popular among young Poles in urban areas lobbied by PiS, would, however tend to alienate farmers in the party's key rural electoral base. 

Exporter of halah and kosher meats  

Poland produces millions of furs each year in a sector employing 50,000 people. 

The nation is also one of Europe's biggest exporters of [Islamic] halal produce and kosher meats to Israel and Jewish communities in Europe. 

The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper citing experts said the bill's likely economic impact would be around €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion). 

ipj/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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