Poland: All the President’s men

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President Andrzej Duda signaled recently that he has his views on the way his chancellery functions and the necessary changes that are likely to take place within his staff.

The president indicated that he was determined to steer his own course during the second term and to answer to “God, nation and history” only.

This probably means that he is not satisfied with the work of all his aides and is planning to make serious changes. These will be necessary if the next five years will, as he promises, be rather different from his first term in office.

There could also be a major change at the top of his staff which is not caused by any dissatisfaction with the work which has been done.

Krzysztof Szczerski, who is responsible for foreign policy in president’s chancellery, is one of the candidates for the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government. Duda has already announced that should Szczerski receive the offer, then he would not stand in Szczerski’s way from taking it.

“If he is offered such a position, it means Poland needs him there,” Duda told Polsat News.

No final decisions on changes in the chancellery are likely until early August when the president is to take the oath of office for his second term. However, it is likely that those who were engaged in organizing his campaign for reelection will now enter his chancellery.

The president’s message that he would set his own course and answer only to “God, nation and history” was reportedly not well-received by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) leadership.

The president’s role will be important in relation to legislative changes that were put off until after the election and which aroused controversy. These are likely to include media and local government reforms.

The president was not clear what he might veto but said that he stood as a guardian of independence of local government, but at the same time, would not allow it to block national projects or celebrations and that everything requires a “middle way”.

Duda may also wish to return to his campaign proposal of broadening the ruling coalition by including representatives of the Confederation party and the Polish People’s Party (PSL). He called it a “great coalition of Polish matters”.

The head of state is also to meet his rival in the presidential run-off, Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski. He had invited him for a meeting on election night, however, it now looks that such a meeting is likely to occur only at the end of July during the Warsaw Uprising commemoration.

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