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Poland’s ruling party ‘could replace’ Szydlo

Reuters WARSAW (Reuters) — Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party may replace Prime Minister Beata Szydlo next week with her government’s finance chief, Mateusz Morawiecki, to prepare for a series of elections in coming years, political sources said.

Since the euroskeptic PiS won power two years ago, Szydlo, 54, has overseen sweeping changes to state institutions in Poland, which critics in the European Union and Washington say have undermined democracy and the rule of law.

Despite the criticism, her conservative government is one of the most popular in Poland since the 1989 collapse of communism, largely due to low unemployment, increases in public spending and a focus on traditional Catholic values in public life.

Senior PiS officials have said, however, that a change was needed to prepare the party — led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland’s paramount politician — for a string of elections in the next three years. Local elections will be held in 2018, parliamentary in 2019 and presidential in 2020.

“It’s been obvious for a long time that there was no internal communication in the government and individual ministers were often following their own agenda,” said one high-ranked official.

PiS spokeswoman Beata Mazurek declined to say when a reshuffle could take place and whether Szydlo would be removed. But she told journalists it is not a “secret” that Morawiecki has been a candidate.

“We are talking about goals for the future,” Mazurek said. “It is not about something ‘new,’ but about what tasks are ahead of us and they are related to the economy — and Deputy Prime Minister Morawiecki is responsible for the economy.”Speech

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