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Tusk backs Kopacz as Poland's next PM

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 04.09.2014 09:36
Prime Minister Donald Tusk has given his backing to parliament speaker Ewa Kopacz as his successor following his appointment as president of the EU Council.

Speaker Ewa Kopacz following a meeting of the board of Civic Platform on Wddnesday afternoon. Photo: PAP/Pawel Supernak

Tusk purportedly discussed the matter during a meeting of the governing board of his centre-right Civic Platform party on Wednesday afternoon.

An unnamed member of the board told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily that only two members were against Kopacz's candidacy, with the minority backing former interior minister Grzegorz Schetyna.

Another supposed contender, defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak, has dismissed reports that he was ever in the running, throwing his weight unequivocally behind Kopacz.

“She is a person who has a lot of independence, and she manages to show that independence,” the minister told Polish Radio on Thursday, adding that 57 year-old Kopacz, a former health minister, “certainly has all the qualities of a born leader.”

The decision to appoint the new prime minister ultimately lies with President Bronislaw Komorowski, however.

MP Mariusz Blaszczak, leader of the opposition Law and Justice's (PiS) parliamentary caucus, has told Polish Radio that Ewa Kopacz is “not the best candidate” to lead the Polish government.

“She even failed as health minister” he said. “The health system is now only for the rich,” the MP said.

Meanwhile, sports minister Andrzej Biernat has indicated that a cabinet reshuffle may take place on 16 September.

It is understood that President Komorowski has told Donald Tusk that foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski and interior minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz, who were both compromised in clandestinely recorded conversations which rocked the government over the summer in the so-called 'tape scandal', should be replaced.

Poll bounce

The first opinion poll following Donald Tusk's election as president of the European Council shows a boost in popularity for Civic Platform, which is now just one percent behind the opposition.

According to the poll by Millward Brown, Tusk's centre-right Civic Platform, in power since 2007, would garner 31 percent of the vote if elections were held this month, whereas a coalition of three right-wing parties led by Law and Justice (PiS) would receive 32 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, 52 percent of those polled declared that they are against snap elections to accompany Tusk's resignation as leader of Civic Platform.

The prime minister has said he will head the party until 1 December before taking up his new position in Brussels.

The next general election is scheduled to be held in the autumn of 2015. (nh/pg)

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