Poland's PM, new president clash over first meeting

AP News
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Posted: Aug 10, 2015 12:13 PM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — In a sign of tension growing between Poland's top leaders, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz says she has not yet been invited to meet with the new president and insists such a meeting should include key ministers.

Conservative President Andrzej Duda took office on Thursday, asking the government team of liberal opponents for cooperation. He said he wants to meet with Kopacz to discuss his welfare policy plans but set no date.

Given the long tradition of frigid relations between Poland's two major political forces, commentators predict troubled relations between the president and the prime minister. That's especially so in the run-up to the Oct. 25 general elections in which the opposition Law and Justice party, from which Duda came, is favored.

In line with Poland's tradition, Duda has quit his party in a sign that he wants to be the president of all Poles.

Political analyst Hubert Horbaczewski believes that until the elections the relations will be "quite chilly." But he says it is natural that "we should expect the president to try — with moderation— to act in the interest of his political circles and their victory."

In the controversy over the first meeting, Duda says he has a "program that is good for Poland" that he would like to implement with the government's support.

"I am open to talks. I will want to negotiate," Duda has said.

But Kopacz insisted Monday that Duda should convene the Cabinet Council which also includes key government ministers, because that "would bring more good for the president and for the government."

The president can propose new laws, including those concerning social policy, but they need approval from the government and from lawmakers.