|Jacek Rostowski has gained the post of deputy prime minister and will keep his finance portfolio|
Courtesy of European Parliament
The most significant change Prime Minister Donald Tusk made in his cabinet reshuffle last week was to appoint Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski as deputy prime minister. Mr Rostowski, who will still remain finance minister, is known to have the prime minister’s ear, and is seen as a key player in Donald Tusk’s government.
“This is a return to the tradition where the prime minister of a coalition government has two deputies. It is good when there is a balance between coalition partners in a government,” said Mr Tusk at the press conference where he made the announcements.
Mr Tusk also spoke of the importance of issues of public finance at the moment, saying such matters needed “better coordination.” The move doubtless strengthens Mr Rostowski’s position as well as that of the finance ministry itself.
Since 2009 when Donald Tusk relieved his party colleague Grzegorz Schetyna of the position of deputy prime minister, the senior coalition partner Civic Platform has not had its own man in the position.
Jacek Rostowski will now join Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechociński, the leader of the junior coalition partner, the Polish People’s Party, as joint number-two in the government.
Changes in the interior
Jacek Cichocki, now former minister of the interior, will replace the PM’s top advisor Tomasz Arabski as chief of the permanent committee of the Council of Ministers and head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery.
In turn, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, who co-created the Centre for Eastern Studies think tank and was an analyst in post-communist Poland’s first intelligence agency, the Office for State Protection, will take over as interior minister.
Contrary to widespread speculation from the media and opposition politicians, heavily criticized officials such as Health Minister Bartosz Arłukowicz, Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin and Treasury Minister Mikołaj Budzanow-ski all held onto their posts. But Mr Tusk let on that more changes in his government might be in store by mid-year.
“Sometimes changes are needed if just to build a new synergy even if you are not critical of a particular minister’s performance. And that is why I ask all who expected an earthquake or huge cadre revolution to be patient,” said Mr Tusk.
A mere manicure
Some were very disappointed with the changes indeed. Adam Hofman, spokesperson for opposition party Law and Justice, was particularly upset with the promotion of Mr Rostowski, who has earned the reputation of being a particularly stingy finance minister.
“This is a signal to citizens that they will be robbed even more this year,” said Mr Hofman. “We were deceived into believing that there would be big changes and talked about that for a whole week. Meanwhile, all we have is an ordinary manicure, fingernails painted another color,” he added.
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