Poland's PiS may sack PM Szydlo, replace with finance minister: sources

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 05, 2017 5:49 AM

By Pawel Sobczak and Lidia Kelly

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party may replace Prime Minister Beata Szydlo next week with Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as part of a long-expected government reshuffle, four sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Szydlo, 54, who is one of Poland's most popular politicians, has been in her post for two years and said in November there will be changes in her government to mark the midpoint of the parliamentary term.

"At the beginning of next week, there will most likely be changes in the government," a high-ranked PiS source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Everything points to Mateusz Morawiecki becoming the new prime minister."

Three other PiS and government sources confirmed the information, with a government official saying that "the final decision has not yet been made".

The government's spokesman could not be reached immediately.

Morawiecki, 49, who also has been a deputy prime minister, has been broadly considered as "anointed" by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the chairman of PiS and Poland's most influential politician, while Szydlo lacks the full trust of the party's chairman, observers say.

Since joining the PiS government, Morawiecki, a former bank chief executive, has pledged billions of euros worth of investment in the economy.

But public investment has faltered and has been slowly recovering only this year, still below expectations. Private investments has been sluggish, with companies worrying about tax burdens and changing legal frameworks as factors keeping them from pumping money into their businesses.

The prime minister and Morawiecki have been fighting for control largest state-owned companies, with the conflict becoming public earlier this year during the selection process for the chief executive of PZU, central Europe's biggest insurance company.

(Additional reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk, Pawel Florkiewicz, Marcig Goettig and Bartosz Chmielewski; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)