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Poland's pro-EU bloc bags speaker post in parliament vote

Holownia elected speaker of the lower house

13 November, 18:02

(ANSA-AFP) - WARSAW, NOV 13 - Poland's pro-EU parties scored a first victory in the new parliament Monday with their candidate Szymon Holownia elected speaker of the lower house.
    Holownia won a vote that was widely seen as the first test for three parties bidding to form a government and oust the populists from the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
    "After this vote, no one can doubt that there is a majority in this parliament ready to take power," said Holownia, a former TV host who launched his own centrist party. In Poland, the speaker is usually dubbed the second most important post in the country, serving as acting president in the event that the president dies in office or resigns. Poland's pro-EU bloc, including a party co-headed by Holownia, on Friday signed a coalition agreement pledging to restore ties with Brussels and unlock frozen funds.
    But it now has to wait for its shot to form the new government as President Andrzej Duda -- who is allied with PiS -- has announced he would first task current Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki with the mission. Holownia, who presents himself as a progressive Catholic, pledged to chair the parliament in a non-partisan way, adding it will "no longer be a voting machine" for the government. (ANSA-AFP).

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