Polish opposition leader taps deputy for future prime minister

poland mapThe leader of Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, created surprise on Saturday by nominating his deputy to become prime minister in the event of a conservative victory in autumn elections.

Addressing a PiS congress, Kaczynski said deputy president Beata Szydlo, 52, represented the party’s best chance for “a big victory.”

Szydlo, who is also a member of parliament, managed the campaign of Andrzej Duda, a conservative lawyer who staged an upset victory last month over popular incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski in presidential elections.

“If someone has to put together a team in the event of a win, it should be her,” Kaczynski said, apparently renouncing the chance to head the next government if, as polls predict, PiS defeats the ruling centrist Civic Platform (PO) in the parliamentary vote.

Kaczynski, 66, served 16 months as premier between 2006 and 2007.

Explaining his decision to let Szydlo take the reins in the event of an election win, he said: “Poland wants new faces and a new generation. Beata Szydlo is both young and experienced.”

With just four months to go to the election polls show PiS pulling ahead.

A survey published by CBOS institute on Thursday found the party enjoying a 31 percent to 25 percent lead over Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s PO.

The anti-establishment movement of rock star Pawel Kukiz, who finished third in the presidential race, similarly ranked third in the CBOS poll with 19 percent.

On foreign policy, PiS takes a nationalist, eurosceptic line. The party also agrees with the country’s powerful Catholic Church on issues such as abortion. On the economy it has promised to lower the retirement age and reduce taxes on the poor.

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