Likely Polish prime minister repeats vow to remove governor

Central bank uses billboard to set out message as Tusk says parliament may impeach Glapiński

Adam Glapiński
NBP governor Adam Glapinski

Poland’s central bank erected a billboard saying that it always acts lawfully, as the likely next prime minister repeated his promise to impeach the governor.

The National Bank of Poland (NBP) put up a large poster on an advertising hoarding outside its Warsaw headquarters on November 28. The poster read: “All actions of the NBP are legal and consistent with the highest international standards.”

This is the latest move in an intensifying dispute between NBP governor Adam Glapiński and the parties likely to form Poland’s next government. Glapiński is seen by observers as a very close ally of Poland’s current government, led by the Law and Justice party (PiS).

But PiS is likely to lose power in the coming weeks, after a coalition of opposition parties won more votes in parliamentary elections in October. The opposition’s effective head, Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk, has publicly vowed to remove Glapiński from office, if necessary by putting him on trial.

Poland’s president Andrzej Duda, himself a PiS member, has invited the party to stay in office to see if it can form a coalition government. Most observers think that effort will fail and a parliamentary majority will support Tusk becoming prime minister.

Glapiński is due to stay in office until June 2028 after winning parliamentary approval for a second term last year. But Tusk and other Civic Platform leaders have vowed to remove him from office, saying he is incompetent and has destroyed the central bank’s independence.

Polish governments cannot dismiss central bank governors, but Civic Platform has said it may put Glapiński on trial at the state tribunal. On November 21, Tusk said the governor could be put on trial if a majority of parliamentarians voted for it, media reported. 

Tusk said the opposition parties were carefully considering whether they should hold such a vote. He said they might charge Glapiński with failing to raise policy rates quickly enough to suppress inflation.

In a related controversy, the continuing PiS government may use its time in office to appoint a new chief executive for Poland’s Financial Supervision Authority (KNF). Media report the prime minister may nominate Jacek Jastrzębski, who has been the organisation’s chair since he was nominated by PiS in 2018.

The opposition parties have criticised the regulator over its decisions to accept people they say were PiS loyalists as senior managers in state-owned banks. They are promising to remove some PiS supporters from influential positions once they form a government. 

Bitter dispute

The political dispute between the NBP governor and opposition politicians has been bitter and frequently involved calls for legal action. In July 2022, the NBP governor called for prosecutors to charge Tusk with making threats, after he vowed to remove Glapiński from office.

Glapiński has publicly attacked Tusk and other opposition leaders in extremely strong terms, describing them among other things as Russian propagandists and agents of Germany. He has also called for public prosecutors to charge members of the monetary policy committee with criminal offences for having disagreed with him.

During the election, the NBP’s monetary policy committee cut interest rates by much more than markets had anticipated. Three MPC members strongly disagreed with the decision, which led to a sharp fall in the zloty.

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