In 2009, Poland's Jacek Rostowski was named “Best European Finance Minister” by The Banker magazine, which is part of the Financial Times Group. The magazine commended Mr Rostowski for his “calm and astute handling of the global financial crisis which helped to sustain investor confidence [in Poland].”
Indeed, that same year Poland was the only country to register positive GDP growth in the entire European Union. Mr Rostowski, who was born and raised in the UK, was on top of the world then.
By 2013, he had become the longest-serving finance minister in post-communist Poland and was also appointed deputy prime minister by PM Donald Tusk, further strengthening his position in the government.
But in recent weeks, the media has been rife with speculation regarding his dismissal from both positions. Both Reuters and Newsweek's Polish edition have claimed to have information from credible sources that Mr Rostowski will either be dismissed or hand in his resignation. Mr Rostowski and the PM are both denying these reports.
It is said that due to Mr Rostowski's unpopularity (finance ministers are rarely crowd favorites), Mr Tusk, facing a slump in the polls for both his government and party Civic Platform, is searching for a sacrificial lamb. This could be true, but it would be a mistake on the part of the PM were he to fire Mr Rostowski. Voters might dislike the haughty professor but the markets trust him.
In May this year, the yields on Polish 5-year bonds dropped to a record low of 2.55 percent, proof of investors confidence in the man in charge of Poland's finances.
Granted, in July of this year the government announced that this year's budget deficit will be increased by about zł.16 billion from the current level of zł.35.6 billion. But that is hardly Mr Rostowski's fault. Due to the sharp slowdown in the Polish economy, the state budget is simply taking in far less in taxes than had been expected. Besides, his boss, Mr Tusk, is also looking to boost public spending in order to improve his party's standing in the polls.
Jacek Rostowski is a top-class finance minister and Donald Tusk would do well to keep him in his position. Hopefully, both men's denial of Mr Rostowski's purpoted dismissal is sincere.
Warsaw mayor to face recall
Meanwhile, in what could be a potentially huge embarrassment for the ruling party, one of its deputy leaders and Warsaw's mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, will face a recall election on October 13. A total of 166,726 signatures were collected under the petition to remove Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz, significantly more than the required minimum of 133,756.
The mayor will be recalled if at least 389,430 votes are cast and a majority vote to remove her.
The recall petition officially accuses Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz of cutting transportation funding while implementing the highest prices for public transport in Poland, reducing the city’s spending on education, not preparing the capital for the new waste management laws and bringing chaos to city management.
Though a poor communicator and rather unimpressive person, Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz's mayorship has not been all bad for Poland's capital. Warsaw has seen significant development on her watch, especially when it comes to infrastructure. Construction on the city's second subway line finally took off after years of postponements.
But Poland's capital can certainly do better than Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz. The city needs a younger and more dynamic face (the current mayor is 60), someone with a modern perspective that is more communicative and cosmopolitan.
Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz is not a worthy representative of the new Poland and certainly not of its thriving capital city. Warsaw will not lose much if she is recalled.