Jarosław Gowin, who was dismissed as justice minister in April this year, has spent the last few months dishing out harsh criticism to his former boss Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his now former party, Civic Platform (PO).
|Jarosław Gowin is the most high-profile politician to have quit Civic Platform since it won power in 2007|
Courtesy of KPRM/FLICKR
Mr Gowin, a staunch conservative who lost his ministerial post because of controversial statements he made on in vitro fertilization, accuses Mr Tusk of taking PO too far to the left on social and economic issues. "
“Let’s once again be an [economically] liberal, [socially] conservative, republican party of great hope and serious reform,” Mr Gowin said at a press conference in June. “Our roots were steeped in removing the barriers blocking Poles, and in common sense regarding family issues and social values,” he added.
Although the former justice minister said at the time that he was “not fighting for the party’s leadership but its identity, soul and program,” it was clear that he intended to mount an open challenge to Mr Tusk.
Putting up a good fight
Sure enough Mr Gowin subsequently announced he would run for the position of PO leader in the party’s leadership elections. He put up a spirited campaign, taunting the PM for having turned into a “social democrat.” But in reality, Mr Gowin never stood a chance against the formidable political machine that Donald Tusk has built up in his decade as party leader.
At the end of August, it was announced that Mr Tusk had won 80 percent of the votes in the election while Mr Gowin received 20 percent support. The former minister had been expected to fare much worse and Mr Tusk made some initial noises about possible cooperation between them. But Mr Gowin said he expected changes in government policy before he would consider future cooperation.
Last month, Mr Gowin’s conservative political ally John Godson, Poland’s first black MP, left PO. Then Mr Gowin was fined for breaking party discipline during parliamentary voting while another member of PO’s conservative camp, Jacek Żalek, was suspended from the party for three months for the same reason.
Mr Gowin then voluntarily suspended his membership of PO before finally announcing he was quitting the party for good last week. “Today it has come to the stage whereby loyalty to the party is in conflict with loyalty towards Poles,” said Mr Gowin.
Four days later, Mr Żalek announced he was leaving the party as well to become an independent.
Still a popular politician, Mr Gowin has announced he will be touring Poland and will present his political plans for the future within the month. Some think he might assume the leadership of one of the many minor conservative parties that lack a high-profile leader. Others say he will create his own socially conservative and economically liberal party.
Such a party led by Mr Gowin would be backed by 6.1 percent of Poles, according to a September Homo Homini survey. A party must receive 5 percent of the vote in elections in order to enter parliament. Poland’s next parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2015.
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