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Poland's conservatives formally lose majority in parliament after three rebel MPs leave

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By Matthew Holroyd
The conservatives now have 229 members in the 460-seat Polish Sejm.
The conservatives now have 229 members in the 460-seat Polish Sejm.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, FILE
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Poland's ruling conservatives have lost their majority in parliament after three lawmakers left the government group.

Zbigniew Girzyński, Małgorzata Janowska, and Arkadiusz Czartoryski announced they would be leaving the Law and Justice party (PiS) at a press conference on Friday

The three MPs said they would be creating a new parliamentary group called "Poland's Choice" in the Sejm, Poland's lower house of parliament.

"We have decided to leave the PiS parliamentary club and establish our own, independent parliamentary group," Girzyński told reporters.

According to the PAP news agency, the lawmakers had been unsatisfied with the party's energy policy.

"PiS went to the elections with the information that conventional energy is the most important energy," said Janowska, quoted by PAP.

"At the moment we are moving away from that, this is something I do not agree with, I do not want to participate in it. I want to fight for energy," she added.

Girzyński also specified that "Poland's Choice" would not be a "total opposition" to the ruling conservatives.

The departures of the three rebellious MPs mean the ruling conservative group now has 229 members in the 460-seat Sejm, two short of a majority.

However, the government will likely rely on 238 lawmakers through confidence and supply to retain power and support in motions of confidence and budget votes.

"I don't think this will cause any more problems," commented Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, while facing reporters in Brussels after an EU summit.

"I am convinced that all three of them [...] support the ideas of the United Right. Such situations happen simply as a result of various types of conflicts, including personal conflicts."

The conservatives won 235 seats in the 2019 parliamentary elections but have now formally lost six members.

Girzyński had previously been suspended by the PiS in January after allegations that he had received a COVID-19 vaccine out of turn.

The lawmaker -- from the Toruń district -- admitted that he had taken the jab in his profession as a university lecturer but denied wrongdoing.

But Poland's Health Minister, Adam Niedzielski, condemned the reports and said there was "no acceptance for such an attitude."