The ruling PiS party kicked-off the second half of its term with a major government reshuffle. The Prime Minister was replaced with her former deputy, and three ministry heads also lost their posts. Who has left and who’s in to replace them?
CURRENT PRIME MINISTER: Mateusz Morawiecki
After having graduated from the University of Wrocław, Central Connecticut State University, Wrocław University of Technology, Wrocław University of Economics, the University of Hamburg and the University of Basel, Morawiecki (49) worked his way up from an intern at Deutsche Bundesbank to CEO of Bank Zachodni. In 1998, he served as Deputy Director in the negotiations department dealing with Poland’s EU accession. In 2015 he was made Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Development, and additionally, in 2016, Minister of Finance while serving in the cabinet of the previous Prime Minister, Beata Szydło.
1. CURRENT MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE: Mariusz Błaszczak (48)
A history alumnus from the University of Warsaw and the National School of Public Administration, Błaszczak was appointed as PiS’ spokesperson in 2009, a function he fulfilled before becoming the head of Law and Justice’s parliamentary caucus in 2010. In 2015, he was appointed minister of the interior under the rule of Szydło. He was moved to the position as head of National Defense Ministry on January 9, 2018.
2. CURRENT MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Jacek Czaputowicz (61)
Czaputowicz graduated from the
Warsaw School of Economics, received a PhD in Political Science from the Polish Academy of Sciences and completed his post-graduate studies at Oxford University. Czaputowicz is a widely published academic, with over 100 published research papers and scientific monographs on international relations, political sovereignty and European integration.
3. CURRENTMINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT: Henryk Kowalczyk (61)
Kowalczyk graduated from the Department of athematics at the University of Warsaw, class of 1980. From 1990 to 2005 he acted as leader of the Winnica Municipality. From 2006 to 2007 he worked as secretary of state i n the Ministry of Agriculture and in 2015 was made Minister of the Council of Ministers before being reassigned to his current position.
FORMER PRIME MINISTER: Beata Szydło
Szydło (54) graduated from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków in 1987 with a degree in ethnography, and she later studied for her PhD in philosophy and history at the same university. She studied cultural management at the Warsaw School of Economics and local government management at Kraków University of Economics. Szydło founded the Libiąż Culture Centre and managed it between 1995 and 1997. In 1998, she became the mayor of Brzeszcz, the youngest mayor in Lesser Poland at 35 years old. After joining the Law and Justice party in 2005, she became vice president of the party five years later. After the party’s electoral victory she was appointed Prime Minister in November 2015, a position she held until December 7, 2017. Szydło’s flagship electoral promise was the 500+ social subsidy program, which was among the first laws that the party introduced. In December 2017, her government won in a vote of no confidence submitted by opposition parties. On the same day, Szydło tendered her resignation as Prime Minister. She was replaced by Mateusz Morawiecki, formerly deputy PM. On December 11, Szydło was appointed deputy PM and head of the Council of Ministers’ Social Committee.
FORMER MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT: Jan Szyszko
Szyszko (73) studied at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, receiving both a doctorate and post-doctorate degree in forestry by 1983. In 1997, Jan Szyszko became the minister of environmental protection, natural resources and forestry, as well as secretary of state under the ministry of Jerzy Buzek. He joined the Law and Justice party in 2001 and served as minister of the environment from 2005
to 2007. In 2012 he became vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Team on Culture and Tradition of Hunting and the chairman of the Parliamentary Team for Sustainable Development of Europe a year later. Upon his appointment, he greenlit the logging of the Białowieża National Forest, a move which was strongly protested by environmental organizations and the EU.
FORMER MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Witold Waszczykowski (60)
Graduating in 1980 from the University of Łódź with a degree in philosophy and history, Waszczykowski went on to study international relations at the University of Oregon, later receiving a PhD in history and humanities, where he continued to work between 1981 and 1987. In 1992, he was employed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in 1996 he became the deputy director in the Department of European Institutions and the Security Policy Department. In 2005 he became the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2008, he was appointed deputy head of the National Security Bureau. He became an MP in 2011, and in 2015 he was re-elected, receiving the minister of foreign affairs post, which he held until January 9, 2018.
FORMER MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE: Antoni Macierewicz
Macierewicz (69) graduated from the University of Warsaw in 1971 with a major in history. He served as minister of internal affairs from 1991 to 1992. In 2006 he was appointed deputy minister of national defense under Jarosław Kaczyński. He joined the Law and Justice party in 2012, a year later becoming the vice president of the party. One of his key policies was the investigation into the Smoleńsk plane crash of 2010 which claimed the lives of 96 people, including top politicians. Macierewicz has demanded on numerous occasions the return of the plane wreckage from Russia, where the crash occurred. He has also claimed the tragic incident to be the product of a conspiracy.