Poland's president swears in a government expected to last no longer than 14 days

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's president on Monday swore in a government that is expected to last no longer than 14 days, a tactical maneuver that allows the conservative Law and Justice party to hang onto power a bit longer — and make more appointments to state bodies.

Following a national election in October, President Andrzej Duda swore in Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who has held that position since late 2017. According to the constitution, Morawiecki and his Cabinet will have 14 days to face a vote of confidence in parliament.

They're almost certain to lose the vote because Morawiecki has no coalition partners after his nationalist and conservative Law and Justice party lost its parliamentary majority and no other parties want to join its government.

Morawiecki says he is trying to find partners to govern with, but himself puts his chances at “10% or even less.”

Other members of Morawiecki’s new Cabinet also took their oaths. Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak remained but most of the other ministries, including foreign, justice and education ministries — were filled by new appointees. Some political veterans likely did not want to be part of a government expected to fail.

There were many women and young members in the new government, something Duda praised. He addressed them, telling them he knows most of them already, not as ministers but “as experts, as people who have so far worked in the second line.”

Critics of Morawiecki and Duda — who is politically aligned with Law and Justice — denounce the decision to tap a government with no apparent chance at winning parliamentary backing as a hopeless act of political theater.

Some critics point out that the outgoing party is using the time to make more appointments, which will extend its influence over state bodies even after giving up the reins of government. It has in recent days nominated loyalists to head the state auditing body and the financial supervision authority.

After eight years in power, Law and Justice won the most votes in the election but lost its parliamentary majority, getting just 194 seats in the 460-seat lower house of parliament, the Sejm.

Power is already passing to a bloc of pro-European Union parties that ran on three separate ballots but vowed to work together. They jointly gained a parliamentary majority of 248 seats and are already leading the work of the parliament.

Their candidate for prime minister is Donald Tusk, who already held that position from 2007 to 2014 before becoming a top EU leader, the president of the European Council, a job he held for five years.

He is on track to once again be prime minister after Morawiecki's time runs out in December.