Poland's political double act ends

President Lech Kaczynski accepts his twin brother's resignation.

    Lech Kaczynski will now have to ask his brother's main rival to form a government [Reuters]

    Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland's prime minister, has handed his resignation to his twin brother, Lech Kaczynski, the country's president, after their party lost a general election on October 21.

    Donald Tusk, leader of the rival Civic Platform party, will be formally named as the new prime minister later this week, a presidential aide said on Monday.

    "We have ended our mission in government with our heads held high. The economy is in fine form, and the past two years have reinforced Poland's position in Europe," Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in a resignation speech at the presidential palace.

    The brothers have expressed bitterness about the defeat of their Law and Justice party in the election after presiding over the European Union member's fastest economic growth in a decade.
       
    But their confrontational style, social conservatism and rows with EU partners alienated many Poles, who turned out in record numbers to vote for Tusk's economically liberal, pro-EU party.

    Euro warning

    In his farewell speech at the first sitting of the newly elected parliament, the outgoing prime minister warned Tusk not to rush to adopt the euro, saying it could hurt growth.
       
    The Civic Platform wants to swap Poland's zloty for the euro by 2013.
       

    Tusk wants to introduce
    the euro by 2013 [Reuters]
    "There is one way to stop the economic growth - through consequences of euro introduction," Kaczynski, who abandoned earlier plans to sign up to the single currency by 2011 when he took power two years ago, said.

    He also urged Tusk to complete the outgoing government's negotiations with the United States on hosting parts of a planned US missile defence shield, saying partnership with Washington was vital for the former communist state's long-term security.

    Once designated, Tusk will have two weeks to form a cabinet and win a parliamentary vote of confidence.
      
    He has already agreed to form a majority coalition with the smaller Peasants' Party, and the two have all but agreed a programme and cabinet line-up.

    Radek Sikorski, who was dismissed by the Kaczynskis from the defence ministry in October after they accused him of jeopardising ties with the US, is poised to take the foreign affairs portfolio.

    Michal Kaminski, presidential aide, said that while Kaczynski would "convey his doubts" about Sikorski, he would "in no way prevent the nomination of whoever to whatever post."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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