Poland postpones media law vote as government loses majority.

Poland’s opposition said on Wednesday the government had lost its majority after lawmakers voted to postpone a sitting of the lower house at which they were due to vote on a media Bill that has become a test of the government’s stability.

The motion to postpone the sitting, which was proposed by the opposition, passed with 229 votes in favour and 227 against in the 460-seat parliament.

Uncertainty about the government’s ability to command a majority mounted on Tuesday when Jaroslaw Gowin, head of junior coalition partner Accord, was removed from the post of deputy premier.

Two lawmakers from the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS), the largest party in the ruling coalition, were not present to vote on Wednesday’s motion.

Additionally, Jaroslaw Sachajko of the Kukiz’15 party, which is not part of the ruling coalition but supports some of its policies, said the party’s four lawmakers had voted for the opposition motion by mistake.

The vote left question marks hanging over the stability of the government and the future of a broadcaster ownership Bill opposed by the United States that critics say aims to gag Discovery-owned news channel TVN24.

“Minority government has started,” said Krzysztof Gawkowski, from the opposition Left grouping. “This parliament will not be like it has been up to now.”

Accord leader Mr Gowin told private radio station RMF FM on Wednesday that each of Accord’s lawmakers had received a “very politically attractive” proposal to remain in the ruling coalition, United Right, including ministerial posts.

“This is a day that will be a test of character, above all the character of Accord politicians,” he said.

Accord had previously said it opposed the media reform Bill in its current form.

Accord spokeswoman Magdalena Sroka told Reuters that five of 10 Accord lawmakers who had been members of the PiS parliamentary party voted with the opposition in favour of the postponement.

A government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. – Reuters

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