Both houses of Polish parliament held inaugural sessions
The lower house of Polish parliament, the Sejm, inaugurated its 9th term on Tuesday. The first session was opened by the Senior Marshal Antoni Macierewicz. Elżbieta Witek will keep her position of the Sejm's Marshal. A few hours later, the upper house, the Senate, held its first session of the new 10th term.
The first session of parliament began with the national anthem, followed by the presidential address.
President Andrzej Duda said, among other things, that all nationwide parties have their representatives in the Sejm, which means that nearly all citizens who had voted will be represented.
The president congratulated the MPs on winning seats in the lower house and said: "I'm sure that over many important issues a compromise can be found".
"I'd like to ask you to keep parliamentary debate free of radical language, to use language of respect, to keep the debate free of offense and scandal, and to keep parliamentary conduct constructive, and not destructive," President Duda stressed.
Senior Marshal Antoni Macierewicz was the next one take the floor.
"We must build a strong state with clear hierarchy of values, drawing a line between patriotism and treachery, good and evil, civilisation of life and civilisation of death," he said.
Macierewicz underscored, however, that the state should respect democracy and different viewpoints.
After the Senior Marshal's speech, MPs took their oath. Some stood in attention, others with hands on their hearts, V signs representing victory, with scarves with the word "Constitution" on them, with actual copies of the Constitution, and even with a clenched fist.
During the break in the session, the chairman of Civic Platform, Grzegorz Schetyna, told journalists in the Sejm that, in his view, Macierewicz's speech had been "very political, aggresive and excluding, unlike President Duda's".
"Therefore, I treat it this way that Antoni Macierewicz is already after the election campaign, and President Duda's still before, hence such different speeches," Schetyna added.
After the break, Elżbieta Witek (PiS) was re-appointed Marshal of the Sejm. The former Minister of the Interior and Administration was supported by 314 MPs, 11 were against, and 134 abstained. She was the only candidate.
"It's an honour and responsibility, I feel extremely honoured as I was supported not only by MPs from my party, thank you," said Witek after being appointed.
Next one to appear at the pulpit was Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who announced dismissal of his cabinet.
"We've achieved plenty of success, also in the areas, which in their nature require more than one term," Morawiecki said summing up the previous term of his government.
He added that thanks to his cabinet's actions, his party had won the parliamentary elections last month.
"Precisely during our time in office, in the last four years, we have seen freedom and democracy in bloom," the prime minister said.
Around 4pm, the Senate began the first session of the 10th term. The upper house inaugural sitting was opened by the President who gave a short speech.
"Those who had watched my work in the last few years know that many times I've taken the Senate's opinions seriously into account, much more often than previous presidents," Andrzej Duda said in the Senate.
The president then handed the chairmanship of the session to the Senior Marshal of Senate, Barbara Borys-Damięcka, who took the oath from the senators.
After a break in the session, the senators elected Civic Coalition's Tomasz Grodzki to replace PiS' Stanisław Karczewski as Marshal of the upper house.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced his new cabinet on Friday (November 8). According to the law, after the first parliamentary session, the President has 14 days to appoint the new prime minister and his cabinet.
No later than 14 days after the new cabinet's appointment, the new prime minister presents the programme for his government (in an expose in the Sejm), and files for a vote of confidence, which can be granted by the absolute majority of votes, with at least half of all MPs present.
On Tuesday evening, the Sejm also selected five Deputy Marshals: Ryszard Terlecki (PiS), Małgorzata Gosiewska (PiS), Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska (Civic Coalition), Włodzimierz Czarzasty (the Left) oraz Piotr Zgorzelski (Polish People's Party - Polish Coalition).
The long, first day of the new parliament was completed with a vote in which Bogdan Borusewicz was confirmed as Deputy Marshal of the Senate.
Borusewicz received 90 votes in his favour, 4 against and 5 senators refrained from voting.
Former member of both PiS and Civic Platform, Michał Kamiński, was also chosen to serve as Deputy Marshal. He won the senatorial ticket running on Polish People's Party (PSL) list.
Fifty three (53) senators voted in favour of Kamiński's candidacy, 37 were against and 10 abstained.
PiS' Stanisław Karczewski, who had been the Senate Marshal in the last term, was also approved as Deputy Marshal of the upper house.
His candidacy was supported by 82 senators, 3 were against and 15 abstained.
The last one to be approved as Deputy Marshal of the Senate was Gabriela Morawska-Stanecka (the Left).
Her candidacy received 56 votes in favour, 28 against, with 15 senators refraining from voting.