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Polish ruling party replaces PM ahead of elections

Polish ruling party replaces PM ahead of elections
From Reuters - December 7, 2017

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polands ruling conservatives named in an expected move Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as the countrys new prime minister on Thursday as they gear up for a series of elections in the coming years.

Morawiecki, who has also been a deputy prime minister, will replace the largely popular Beata Szydlo, marking the midpoint of the parliamentary term and in what is the beginning of an expected broader government reshuffle.

Sources told Reuters this week that Morawiecki, 49, was the most likely candidate to replace Szydlo, 54, to prepare the party - led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Polands paramount politician - for elections due in the next three years.

Local elections will be held in 2018, parliamentary in 2019 and presidential in 2020.

Morawiecki, an ex-banker, is broadly favoured by Kaczynski, while Szydlo lacked the full trust of the partys chairman, analysts say.

It is obvious that Jaroslaw Kaczynski is the leader of this camp and he is the one who distributes the cards regardless of who is the prime minister, Henryk Domanski, from the Polish Academy of Sciences, said.

Dramatic changes in Polands economic policy are not expected with observers saying Morawiecki will keep strict control over Polands finances and economy. Local market reaction has been muted this week amid speculation about his new role.

But it remains to be seen whether Poland, once a champion of democratic changes after the fall of Communism and now at loggerheads with the European Union over sweeping changes to state institutions, which critics say have subverted democracy and the rule of law, will change its relations with Brussels.

Three sources told Reuters on Thursday that Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski may be replaced with Krzysztof Szczerski, a top adviser to President Andrzej Duda, who wants to have a greater say on Polands foreign policy.

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