WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo will announce a cabinet reshuffle in coming days, she said on Tuesday, declining to respond to talk that her own job might be at risk.
Media and market speculation about a reshuffle has been rife, with the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party thought to be planning to get rid of some ministers weighing on the party’s broadly positive popularity ratings as it prepares for regional elections in 2018.
On Monday, weekly Sieci Prawdy suggested Szydlo, 54, might herself be replaced by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who heads the right-wing PiS to which they both belong.
Tabloid Fakt said on Tuesday that Szydlo was likely to keep her job, but that others including Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and Environment Minister Jan Szyszko — both relatively unpopular among the electorate — might be replaced.
Kaczynski, 68, a divisive figure who is one of the least trusted politicians in Poland, exerts huge influence behind the scenes and media have said he might be targeting Szydlo’s job ahead of national elections due in 2019.
“I do not want the speculation regarding changes in the government to continue. My decisions will be announced soon,” Szydlo told private broadcaster TVN 24.
“This decision has been taken - there will be changes in the government. I have discussed this decision with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, which is a natural thing.”
Asked about her own possible departure, Szydlo said she did not want to speculate, adding she was not tired or burned out.
Opinion polls show Szydlo is the second most trusted politician in Poland, just behind President Andrzej Duda.
“If the reshuffle is limited to a few ministers, then it will done out of the natural desire to get rid of the weakest links (in the cabinet),” said Jaroslaw Flis, a sociologist at the Krakow-based Jagiellonian University.
The PiS government has divided opinion, putting Poland on a collision course with the EU with policies including increasing control over the judiciary and state media that critics say undermine the rule of law.
But the party continues to enjoy strong backing from voters.
In a survey released (when) by state pollster CBOS, 44 percent of respondents described themselves as supporters of the government, the largest share in six years.
Reporting by Pawel Sobczak and Marcin Goclowski, Marcin Goettig; Writing by Agnieszka Barteczko and Marcin Goettig; editing by John Stonestreet