June 15, 2015 / 3:45 PM / 4 years ago

Polish PM appoints political novices to her struggling government

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz appointed a group of relative political unknowns to her cabinet on Monday in an effort to regain voters’ trust and avoid defeat in a parliamentary election due later this year.

Poland's Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz speaks during a news conference at the Prime Minister Chancellery in Warsaw, Poland June 10, 2015. REUTERS/Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta

The appointments included a former Olympic rower, Adam Korol, who was named sports and tourism minister, and Marian Zembala, a celebrated heart surgeon, who is to be the new minister for health, Kopacz told a news conference.

Kopacz said in a televised address she had also picked Andrzej Czerwinski as the new treasury minister, whose job it is to oversee the state’s shares in public companies.

Czerwinski, a member of parliament with Kopacz’s centre-right Civic Platform party, is head of a parliamentary energy panel.

Last week, Kopacz purged several senior officials from her government, saying she needed to regain public trust. Many voters say the governing party is out of touch after eight years in power, and that they want to see new faces.

Civic Platform suffered an unexpected defeat last month when its candidate in the presidential election, incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski, lost to the candidate backed by the main opposition Law and Justice party.

Opinion polls show Civic Platform now trailing the more conservative Law and Justice party.

Announcing the new appointments, Kopacz said: “Each of these people ... knows what serving the community means, knows what hard work is and knows what it is to be acquainted with the problems of ordinary people.”

Addressing voters directly, Kopacz appealed for their trust.

“That is why, here and now, I am issuing a declaration, that I and my ministers, day after day, 24 hours a day, through hard work, are going to earn that trust,” she said.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Christian Lowe and Gareth Jones

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