The meeting of the Polish Council of Ministers on Tuesday aroused much interest because it was the first meeting of the government since Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling conservatives, rejoined the government as deputy prime minister.
The meeting approved a 60 percent increase in the child benefit, the flagship of the present government’s family and social transfer policy.
However, it wasn’t the policy that raised eyebrows but the seating arrangements at the meeting. In the space normally occupied by the prime minister alone, there were two chairs. In one sat Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and in the other next to him, Jarosław Kaczyński, nominally the prime minister’s subordinate.
The liberal and left opposition had a field day. They commented that the photo of the seating arrangements confirmed the reality of where power resides and called it a humiliation for the prime minister.
Leszek Miller, a former prime minister and current MEP for the Left party, expressed his outrage. “When I began my term as prime minister, I moved Cabinet meetings to the space in which they meet until this day, but there were never two people in the place reserved for the prime minister. Is this some kind of joke?” he tweeted.
Morawiecki has not commented on the new seating arrangements. They are in all probability a recognition of the fact that, after the changes in the government, Kaczyński is now the only deputy prime minister, whereas previously there had been four.