Report: Jarosław Kaczyński to step down as leader of Poland’s PiS within a year

If Kaczyński steps down this year, it would represent a major shakeup in Polish politics

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Adam Gajcy
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, center, leader of Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) party, arrives for a speech of newly elected Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the parliament in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Jarosław Kaczyński, the chairman of Poland’s main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, has reportedly informed his close associates that he will relinquish his leadership role, as per the left-liberal news outlet Onet, citing sources from the party. This revelation has sparked discussions about his potential successors and the future direction of the party.

Sources assert that Kaczyński has requested his decision be kept confidential from both the public and rank-and-file party members, and there has been no official announcement. Instead, the decision will be made at the party congress in the first half of 2025, ahead of the presidential elections. Kaczyński has expressed his desire to avoid unnecessary turmoil within the party, which he believes could harm Law and Justice’s standing.

Kaczyński, who has been a key figure in the United Right government, has reportedly also indicated that he will not personally endorse any candidate.

“Now is not the time to ignite long-standing conflicts that have only intensified since relinquishing power,” a source emphasized.

A week ago, former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, seen as a contender for Kaczyński’s position, admitted on Radio ZET that he would like to participate in the “honorable race” for leadership. This public declaration reportedly led to a rebuke from the party leadership, with some accounts describing an irate Kaczyński displeased with Morawiecki’s radio appearance.

Alongside Morawiecki, Beata Szydło, Mariusz Błaszczak, and Przemysław Czarnek are also considered strong candidates for succession.

Furthermore, Onet reports that party figures like Adam Bielan, Stanisław Karczewski, and Ryszard Czarnecki are attempting to persuade Kaczyński to reconsider his decision. Should their efforts fail, Przemysław Czarnek, the former minister of education and science, is also viewed as a likely successor.

Party insiders express skepticism towards Morawiecki, acknowledging his actions have caused widespread anger and dissatisfaction within the party, including from Kaczyński himself.

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