Polish President Duda appoints new foreign, health ministers

By bne IntelliNews August 26, 2020

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda ministers for the foreign and health ministries on August 26. 

The appointments follow the resignations of the previous heads of the two ministries. They come at a crucial time for both ministries, as Poland grapples with rising daily coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and seeks to push the EU to take an active diplomatic stance towards Belarus, a close Russian ally whose borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are major Nato frontiers.

Zbigniew Rau, until now the chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the parliament, has become Poland’s top diplomat. Meanwhile, the head of Poland’s National Health Fund (NFZ), Adam Niedzielski, has been appointed health minister. The two men were sworn in at a ceremony in the presidential palace in Warsaw.

His predecessor Lukasz Szumowski announced his resignation on August 18. He told a press conference he had been about to resign in February, but after the coronavirus epidemic broke out, he postponed the decision for another six months. However, Szumowski had also been the subject of scrutiny after allegations that friends and family had benefited from government grants and contracts.

Two days later, Jacek Czaputowicz, stepped down from his role as Poland’s top diplomat. A foreign ministry spokesperson sad the minister had “said earlier that the conclusion of the presidential election is a good moment for a change at the helm of Polish diplomacy and expressed the conviction that his successor will continue the current policy and contribute to further strengthening of Poland's international position.”

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed on August 25 that his government would undergo a reshuffle by the end of September or in early October.

Poland’s conservative leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who heads the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, has previously said that Morawiecki himself will keep his job.

 

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