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Government. Marcin Kierwiński: “there are fewer ministers than in Morawiecki’s government.” It depends on how you count

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Interior Minister Marcin Kierwiński argued in a radio interview that there are fewer ministers in Donald Tusk’s government than in Mateusz Morawiecki’s government. So we compared the composition of the indicated offices. Marcin Kierwiński is wrong when it comes to Councils of Ministers appointed after the elections.

The issue of the size of the current Council of Ministers appeared on December 22 in the morning program “Guest of Radio Zet”. The host, Bogdan Rymanowski, read a question from the listener to the Minister of Interior and Administration, Marcin Kierwiński, who was visiting the studio: “Mr. Łukasz: Why is the new government the most numerous government since 1989, in terms of ministers?” When Minister Kierwiński reacted by saying: “But this is probably untrue information”, Rymanowski noted: “For years you have criticized PiS for the laxity of government bureaucracy, and you yourself are increasing it even more.”

“Please forgive me, but I don’t know where Mr. Łukasz got this information from,” replied the minister. Rymanowski began to list which ministerial positions there were not in the previous government, to which the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration recalled that in the previous government “probably seven or eight ministers were so-called ministers without portfolio.” To the host’s question: “So, in your opinion, there are fewer of you than in Morawiecki’s government?”, Minister Kierwiński replied: “Of course, yes.” But he added that he would check it out. Later, however, when asked whether Tusk’s government was smaller even with deputy ministers, Kierwiński said:

Please remember that the process of appointing deputy ministers is still ongoing, so… But yes. As for the number of ministers, there are fewer of them than in Mr. Morawiecki’s government. In the right government. Well, I’m not talking about this two-week experiment that did nothing.

So we checked the size of the governments of Morawiecki and Tusk. In this comparison, we omitted the two-week government – which Kierwiński himself omitted in his statement – i.e. the 19-person Council of Ministers appointed by the president on November 27, which on December 11 did not receive a vote of confidence from the Sejm and ceased to exist.

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The Council of Ministers on the day of its appointment: now the largest

The Council of Ministers chaired by Prime Minister Donald Tusk was sworn in by the president on December 13, 2023. According to information published on government websites, the current Council of Ministers counts 27 people. This Prime Minister and 26 ministers, including: 19 ministers, heads of ministries (including two deputy prime ministers) and seven ministers who perform various functions, but do not manage offices, and their place of work is the Chancellery of the Prime Minister (these are the so-called ministers without portfolio): head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, minister for the European Union, minister for equality, civil society and senior policy, coordinator of special services, head of the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers.

Donald Tusk’s government was established on December 13, 2023 gov.pl

At the time of its appointment, this Council of Ministers is larger than the government of Hanna Suchocka, established on July 11, 1992, which was the largest cabinet at the time of its acceptance by the Sejm (it consisted of 25 people: the Prime Minister, two Deputy Prime Ministers, 21 ministers and the head of the Scientific Research Committee). So the listener of Radio Zet was right, not Minister Kierwiński.

Donald Tusk’s government is also more numerous than the government of Mateusz Morawiecki established in November 2019 (23 people), the governments of Leszek Miller (16 people) and Marek Belka (18 people), and even the first PiS government of Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (17 people). At the time of their appointment, the Councils of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Tusk from the times of the PO-PSL coalition consisted of 19 and 20 people, respectively.

These numbers refer to the composition of the Council of Ministers at the time of their appointment after the parliamentary elections. Of course, all governments underwent personnel changes. In the PO-PSL governments, the number of ministers was 18-19 people, in the United Right governments – much more. For example, Morawiecki’s cabinet after the changes in April 2023 consisted of 27 people, including the prime minister.

Government of Mateusz Morawiecki, as of November 26, 2023gov.pl

However, the Council of Ministers of Mateusz Morawiecki, which was still in power after the parliamentary elections on October 15, as of November 26 – that is, the day before the dismissal of this cabinet – counted 28 members. In addition to the Prime Minister, they were: the Deputy Prime Minister (Jarosław Kaczyński) and 26 ministers (17 heads of ministries and nine ministers performing various functions in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister).

Comparing the composition of Tusk’s current government with Morawiecki’s government before his resignation, we can conclude that there are the same number of people holding the positions of ministers and heads of departments: 26 (besides, Morawiecki’s government also included a deputy prime minister without the position of minister). However, in Tusk’s government there are two more ministers and heads of ministries than in Morawiecki’s government (19 vs. 17); however, in Morawiecki’s government there were two more ministers without portfolio than in the current Tusk government (9 vs. 7).

Wide row: Tusk is thinner than Morawiecki’s

The above calculations refer to the constitutional composition of the Council of Ministers, i.e. appointed by the president. However, the government in a broader sense is not only the prime minister and ministers, but also deputy ministers – i.e. secretaries and undersecretaries of state in ministries and the prime minister’s office. Deputy ministers can be included in the broader composition of the government because – in accordance with the Act on the Council of Ministers – they replace constitutional ministers in their work and can present the government’s position, e.g. during parliamentary sessions. They are appointed by the Prime Minister at the request of the relevant minister.

In our previous analyzes of the composition of governments, we have shown that the governments of the United Right in 2016-2023 were the largest, despite the announcement of slimming down the government administration. On early April 2023 the government consisted of the prime minister and 17 heads of ministries, three of whom were also deputy prime ministers. The Council of Ministers included nine ministers who did not manage ministries but dealt with specific matters. Together with deputy ministers in all ministries and in the prime minister’s office, Morawiecki’s broad government consisted of as many as 112 people. The day before his resignation, on November 26, 2023, Morawiecki’s government together with deputy ministers counted 110 people.

In turn, Donald Tusk’s government, on the day of Minister Kierwiński’s statement (December 22), together with his deputy ministers (52), had 79 people. But – as the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration admitted – “the process of appointing deputy ministers is still ongoing.” On the day of publication of this text (December 29), the government website reported that we had 62 deputy ministers – that is, the government together with deputy ministers consisted of 89 people.

Main photo source: Albert Zawada/PAP

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