The new government of Ewa Kopacz was formally sworn in today September 22nd by President Komorowski, and Mrs Kopacz and her ministers now have the responsibility of guiding Poland through the next year until parliamentary elections in late 2015.
The key new appointments are:
• Grzegorz Schetyna replaces Radoslaw Sikorski as Foreign Minister, whilst Sikorski becomes the Speaker of Parliament in place of Mrs Kopacz
• Cezary Grabarczyk replaces Marek Biernacki as Minister of Justice
• Teresa Piotrowska replaces Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz as Minister of Interior
• Andrzej Halicki replaces Rafal Trzaskowski as Minister of Administration and Digitisation
• Maria Wasiak replaces Elzbieta Bienkowska as Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development
• Tomasz Siemoniak remains Minister of Defence but additionally becomes Deputy Prime Minister
Ewa Kopacz takes over as Prime Minister through the voluntary resignation of former Prime Minister Tusk, following his advancement to the position of President of the European Council in Brussels. Tusk remained influential in the choice of Kopacz to succeed him, and he will remain a figure of informal authority. But over the coming weeks and months, inevitably it will be Ewa Kopacz who will have to come into her own and seek to stamp her authority on her own Cabinet – which may not be an easy task.
The fundamental challenge to the effectiveness of the Government will be Ewa Kopacz herself. Although she has had a highly visible political career thus far – a former Minister of Health, and for the last three years the Speaker of the Polish Parliament – there is little concealing the fact that she is not of the same quality as Donald Tusk, who in terms of party political experience, intellect and sheer talent outshone almost all others in the Civic Platform party. In contrast, Ewa Kopacz owes her previous public positions to Tusk’s direct patronage, and her role as the future leader of the PO party is also a function of party statutes that dictate that she, as First Deputy Leader, take over when Tusk resigns that post. She does not lead her own political faction in the party, and many suspect that this lack of independent stature was the reason Tusk – hoping to retain influence – decided that she should take over as Prime Minister in the first place.
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