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PiS takes hit from military resignations ahead of election

General of the Polish Army, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army - Rajmund Andrzejczak seen during the 84th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Westerplatte.

General of the Polish Army, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army - Rajmund Andrzejczak seen during the 84th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Westerplatte. He and Tomasz Piotrowski resigned from command Tuesday.

Mateusz Slodkowski / SOPA Images/Sipa USA via Reuters

Just five days before a parliamentary election that will determine the trajectory of Polish politics, two top military commanders and 10 officers have resigned in a scandal that could undermine the national security platform of the ruling Law and Justice party, aka PiS.


The resignations, which were confirmed on Tuesday, have raised questions about the state of Poland’s military as the Russian-Ukraine war rages next door. The president has already found their replacements, citing the need to limit military disruptions due to the “exceptional circumstances” on their border.

The commanders reportedly quit over the government’s politicization of the armed forces on the campaign trail, but tensions between top brass and the government have been building for months. The defense minister criticized the army’s underreaction when a stray Russian missile crashed into a Polish forest late last year. And the final straw came when the commanders were kept out of decisions surrounding the evacuation of Poles from Israel after this weekend’s attack.

The resignations could damage the PiS’s reelection campaign as it positions itself as the only party that can keep Poland secure. Opposition candidates say the resignations are a symbolic condemnation of the ruling party’s national security platform, but it is unclear whether the scandal will change voters’ minds before Sunday’s vote. Polling suggests that the election will be extremely close, with the outcome determining whether Poland veers further toward the populist right.

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