Jacek Rostowski said he won’t seek a third stint as Poland’s finance minister should the ruling Civic Platform win general elections in 2015.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk is planning to announce a “fresh start” for Civic Platform, which trails the opposition in opinion polls, at a Nov. 23 party convention and said he may overhaul his cabinet this month. He has denied local press reports that Rostowski may be replaced. Any government shuffle should be “deep” and help Civic Platform regain popularity, Rostowski told reporters in Parliament and an interview published in Gazeta Wyborcza today.
“We need a far-reaching government reshuffle to bring in new blood and encourage voters to take a fresh view,” Rostowski told reporters. “We need rejuvenation, not in terms of age, but when it comes to new energy and ideas. We need people who’ll lead us not just to the end of this term, but also after we win the next elections.”
Rostowski, 62, has been on the job for six years, twice as long as any of his predecessors since 1989. His policies helped Poland become the only European Union economy to avoid a recession in the past five years. He led efforts to overhaul the country’s privately-run pension funds, a move that has angered urban voters who backed Tusk’s party in 2005, 2007 and 2011.
The London-born finance minister is the second most unpopular member of Tusk’s cabinet after Sports Minister Joanna Mucha, according to an Oct. 3-9 poll of 1,066 Poles carried out by researcher CBOS. The poll showed 26 percent of voters favored “serious” changes in the cabinet and 37 percent wanted the whole government replaced.
Rostowski said he “doesn’t feel tired” in remarks to reporters today. He declined to comment on whether he will be part of any government overhaul in a Nov. 4 interview in London, saying “every good reshuffle needs to be a surprise.”
Civic Platform, which commands a two-seat majority in Parliament together with the coalition Polish Peasants Party, suspended two lawmakers on Oct. 30 after allegations of vote-buying at a regional convention. The case also exposed internal squabbles within the party, which may destabilize the government and force early elections, according to government spokesman Pawel Gras.
“Conflicts obviously do occur in democratic parties,” Rostowski told Gazeta Wyborcza. “The Civic Platform needs to deal with its internal disputes and come up with a fresh and convincing offer.”
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