Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Thursday said he would be open to early elections if it became impossible for the government to carry out its functions because of conflict with the president.
“If it’s not possible to govern, because he (President Andrzej Duda) will interfere, and if they’ll want early elections, they’ll get them,” Tusk told reporters in Brussels.
He was referring to the head of state, whom critics accuse of using his constitutional powers to hamper the new pro-EU government’s work after it ousted from power Duda’s allies, the Law and Justice (PiS) conservative party, during last October’s parliamentary elections.
Tusk spoke a day after Duda signed the national budget agreed by the parliament but sent it swiftly to the Constitutional Court citing doubts over its adoption.
Although the budget was passed with a large majority, the absence of two MPS, whose parliamentary mandates were annulled over criminal convictions, meant the National Assembly was not at full capacity when the vote took place.
That opened up a potential constitutional loophole.
The two absent MPs — former interior minister Mariusz Kaminski and his close associate Maciej Wasik — were convicted last month of overstepping their duties in a case dating back to 2007.
They were jailed for two weeks and both went on a hunger strike before Duda pardoned them.
Their case is among the many points of contention between Tusk’s government and Duda and the PiS, with both sides trading accusations of breaches of the rule of law.
Tusk’s government has faced near-daily battles with the PiS, which still has allies in the central bank and the constitutional court, as well as in several important judicial and financial state institutions.
On Wednesday, Duda said he would send all legislation adopted by the parliament in the absence of the two MPs to the Constitutional Court.
Tusk said it was “absolutely unacceptable” for Duda to place the interests of the two MPs above those of the nation, while the parliament speaker described Duda’s announcement as “blackmail”.