Poland's Sikorski elected new speaker of parliament

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2014 9:04 AM

WARSAW (Reuters) - Former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski was on Wednesday elected as speaker of the lower house of parliament.

An outspoken critic of Russia's interventions in former Soviet republics, Sikorski was for years one of the most high profile Poles on the international stage.

Sikorski, who is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum, had been tipped to become the new chief diplomat for the European Union, or secretary-general of NATO, but was overlooked for both jobs.

He was the highest-profile departure from the Polish government in a reshuffle ordered this month by Ewa Kopacz, the new prime minister. He takes over the speaker's chair which was vacated by Kopacz when she became prime minister.

In a vote, 233 members of parliament backed Sikorski's candidacy for speaker, 143 opposed it, and 62 did not take part.

Under the constitution, the speaker is the second most important official in the state, after the president, though de facto it is the prime minister who wields the most power.

(Reporting by Pawel Sobczak; Editing by Christian Lowe)