|Jarosław Gowin is considered the leader of the conservative faction in Civic Platform|
Courtesy of Jarosław Gowin
Civic Platform-sponsored legislation on civil unions that would have granted people in same-sex partnerships some marriage-similar rights, was defeated in parliament in late January. Dozens of Civic Platform members voted against the measures. During the parliamentary debate the conservative faction’s leader, Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin, said that since the Polish constitution describes marriage as the union of a man and woman, the government’s proposal was unconstitutional.
Prime Minister Tusk, who supported the measures, responded that Mr Gowin was not expressing the government’s official position.
The proposal was voted down. Forty-six Civic Platform MPs voted against the legislation, which only managed to garner 211 votes in the 460-member Sejm.
Loyalty the most important?
The vote sparked speculation on how long Mr Gowin would remain in Prime Minister Tusk’s government. This is not the first time he has locked horns with the prime minister. In October 2012, he abstained during voting on measures that would have made Poland’s abortion laws radically stricter. The party line had been to reject the proposals outright. In the end 40 Civic Platform MPs voted for the legislation, embarrassing the prime minister, who aims to present his party as centrist and moderate.
After the civil partnership debate, the prime minister reportedly severely admonished Mr Gowin. At a press conference, he only said, “The government is a kind of civil partnership, in which loyalty is essential.”
Meanwhile, Civic Platform deputy leader Grzegorz Schetyna told radio station TOK FM that there should be consequences for Mr Gowin’s insubordination. “I do not accept disloyalty in the party,” said Mr Schetyna. “When people are in a parliamentary caucus they should know that loyalty is very important, if not most important.”
The third-largest party in parliament, the left-wing Palikot’s Movement, has announced that it will call a vote of no-confidence against Mr Gowin.
The internal differences within Civic Platform likely contributed to a decrease in support. A poll carried out by Homo Homini found that if parliamentary elections had been held in late January, opposition party Law and Justice would have won, with 30 percent of the vote. Civic Platform would have come in second with 29 percent.
Nevertheless, Mr Tusk may have come out the winner within his own party. Local media reported on Friday that the justice minister apologized to the prime minister for his behavior. In a statement for press agency PAP, Mr Gowin said that Civic Platform would now discuss the issue of rights for informal couples to ensure that the views of both conservatives and liberals in the party are voiced.
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