Polish finance chief Morawiecki to be the new prime minister

Poland - Factors to Watch Dec 7

The Latest: Poland taps finance chief to be its new leader

The ruling Law and Justice party on Thursday picked Morawiecki, who is also deputy prime minister and development minister, to replace Prime Minister Beata Szydlo.

Asked if, halfway through the government's term in office, the ruling party chief, Jarosław Kaczyński, would replace Beata Szydło as prime minister, Terlecki said this "will transpire around noon". "So far we have concentrated on political, legislative and system matters". He said more changes in the government can be expected in January.

Poland's conservative ruling party says Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has resigned and will be replaced by Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Poland now enjoys record low unemployment, growing wages and growth of over 4 percent per year.

The conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party swept to power in October 2015 in a landslide election victory, ending eight years of a government led by its archrival, the Civic Platform, now Poland's largest opposition grouping.

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Mr Morawiecki, a respected former banker who speaks foreign languages, is credited with boosting a sales tax revenue that helps pay for popular social policies such as child subsidies.

Still, Szydlo, a coal miner's daughter and the mother of a priest, has wide support among conservatives.

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, left, rejoices after she and her government survived opposition's vote of no-confidence in the parliament in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

The meeting of the party's Political Committee was due to be followed by a gathering of the party's parliamentary caucus, PAP reported.

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Lawmakers voted 239-168, with 17 abstentions, to defeat the motion to topple the prime minister's government. The bills have been criticized by the European Union and others as an anti-democratic threat to Poland's rule of law.

President Andrzej Duda met with Szydlo and Kaczynski on Thursday to discuss plans for a government reshuffle and urged decisions to be made quickly, Duda spokesman Krzysztof Lapinski said.

Government critics saw the possible leadership change as mostly a smoke screen to divert attention from a Friday vote on laws that would give the ruling party significant power over the judicial system.

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