Poland’s Kaczynski to quit government job, focus on party helm

FILE PHOTO: Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, attends a vote during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Warsaw,
FILE PHOTO: Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, attends a vote during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Warsaw, Poland, October 13, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

October 13, 2021

WARSAW (Reuters) -Poland’s ruling party chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski said on Wednesday he would quit his government post to spend more time on leading the party, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, confirming a report by state-run news agency PAP.

Kaczynski, 72, is widely seen as Poland’s de facto ruler and will remain key to the direction of the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party as it eyes parliamentary elections in 2023, while dealing with an unstable parliamentary majority and deepening conflicts with the European Union.

“He wants to devote himself to the party,” one of the sources said.

PAP reported that Kaczynski had told a meeting of the PiS parliamentary group that he would leave his government post at the beginning of 2022.

The twin brother of late president Lech Kaczynski, who died in a 2010 plane crash, returned to government in October 2020 as deputy prime minister responsible for national security and defence.

PiS spokespeople could not immediately be reached for comment.

The party remains ahead in opinion polls, thanks partly to its generous social benefit programmes, despite an escalating conflict with the EU over accusations that the hard-right PiS has jeopardised the rule of law, media freedoms and LGBT rights.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Anna Koper, Pawel Florkiewicz Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich)