Poland's next leader: government shakeup not good enough
Jun. 11, 2015
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's prime minister has let five top officials resign to save her ruling party's credibility, but the president-elect and others said Thursday that may not be enough to save the party from losses in the fall parliamentary vote.
In power since 2007, Civic Platform suffered a painful defeat when the incumbent, who was linked to the party, lost in the May presidential election to opposition candidate Andrzej Duda. Now the party seems poised for more electoral losses.
Five top government officials resigned unexpectedly Wednesday, including Parliament Speaker Radek Sikorski. All were involved in a 2014 scandal in which ministers' deals and stratagems with businessmen and lobbyists were illegally taped in restaurants and partly leaked to the media. The public was shocked to hear their foul language and views.
Secret files from the investigation into the tapings were illegally posted on Facebook this week, prompting the five men to resign.
"Civic Platform feels threatened after the presidential defeat," said political analyst Andrzej Rychard.
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz is "aiming to show activity and new ideas, (to fight) against the general opinion that the party is on a downhill slide," Rychard said. "But it may be too little, too late."
When the scandal erupted last summer, Donald Tusk, the party leader and prime minister, dismissed the interior minister but played the problem down. Tusk is now president of the European Council, but the party faces a backlash over his handling of the scandal.
Duda, who takes office as president on Aug. 6, on Thursday criticized the ruling team.
"I don't think that anyone, seeing all this, can deny that things in Poland are not going well and that the credit of trust in the ruling team has been used up," Duda said.
"It is possible that soon, power will be in the hands of people who care for the nation's interests and good change will be possible," Duda said, stopping short of a direct endorsement for the conservative opposition Law and Justice party that he came from.
Replacement ministers in the shake-up are expected to be named Monday.