Poland set for government re-shuffle next week: PM

September 23, 2016 2:50 AM EDT

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo attends the opening session of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj


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WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's prime minister said on Friday she would announce a reshuffle next week, saying time was up for "the golden boys", a reference to young male politicians in the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party who have rapidly built careers in business and politics.

"There will be changes in the government," Beata Szydlo told public radio. "I will inform (the public) next week about what the systemic and personnel changes will be," she said.

Her words, almost a year after the conservative and eurosceptic PiS party won election, suggested a major shake-up.

She did not say which ministers may be axed, though a local tabloid Fakt on Friday saw Finance Minister Pawel Szalamacha as a likely victim.

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who exerts huge influence behind the scenes, indicated earlier this year that he was not satisfied with Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and Health Minister Konstanty Radziwill.

There was also fresh speculation that Kaczynski, who earlier this year described the Szydlo government as an "experiment", might step into the top government job.

"I would be glad if there was a change and Jaroslaw Kaczynski became the prime minister. I appreciate Szydlo, but Kaczynski is the highest class politician," Marek Suski, a senior member of PiS told private Radio Zet on Friday.

STATE-RUN FIRMS

Poland suffered its biggest contraction in investment for almost four years in the second quarter of this year, data showed in August, as political uncertainty discouraged firms from spending at a time of reduced European Union aid.

The planned government reshuffle follows the dismissal last week of Treasury Minister Dawid Jackiewicz.

Szydlo has said she dismissed Jackiewicz as part of a wider plan to close the ministry down. But before her decision Jackiewicz had been criticized by some PiS politicians for appointing his colleagues as executives and managers in some of the state-run firms.

Szydlo's reference to "golden boys" was tipped at PiS male current and former politicians and managers in state-run firms in their 30s or 40s, who have made quick careers since the PiS rose to power as well as managers who ran firms when the Civic Party (PO) and its coalition partner PSL were in power.

"There has been too much information regarding the state-run companies which has raised our concerns. (...) Ownership control has to be strengthened. The time of golden boys in state-run companies, as it was in the time of PO and PSL, is at an end," Szydlo told public radio.

Jackiewicz has supervised such companies as copper producer KGHM, chemical maker and insurer PZU. Sources told Reuters that he had planned to fire KGHM's chief executive officer Krzysztof Skora.

Local media reported that the minister's dismissal could also be followed by reshuffle in refiner Lotos, as well as in utilities Tauron and PGE.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, additional reporting by Pawel Sobczak, Wojciech Strupczewski and Maria Wejcman; Editing by Richard Balmforth,)



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