Polish ruling party replaces PM ahead of elections

Polish PM Beata Szydlo replaced by finance minister

Polish finance minister to replace PM Beata Szydlo

Poland's ruling party says it is replacing Prime Minister Beata Szydlo with her government's finance minister even though it considers Szydlo's two years at the helm a success.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has resigned, hours after surviving an opposition no-confidence motion.

Analysts say that although the talk of the government reshuffle has been going on for weeks, the replacement of Szydlo, a loyal party member who made few mistakes, is surprising.

The conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party swept to power in October 2015 in a landslide election victory, ending eight years of a government led by its archrival, the Civic Platform, now Poland's largest opposition grouping. He said more changes in the government can be expected in January.

Development and finance minister Mateusz Morawiecki, 49, has made a name for himself by taking on tax evasion and bolstering the welfare state.

Deputy Culture Minister Jaroslaw Sellin said the vote will take place on Tuesday.

While the mass privatisation drive that drew strong foreign investment during the early days of Polish capitalism helped to revive a failed economy, Morawiecki argues that almost 30 years later, leaving key sectors in foreign hands means the profits leave Poland.

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The BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says there had been growing speculation that party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski wanted to replace Mrs Szydlo.

PiS party spokeswoman, Beata Mazurek later told reporters that its "political committee has proposed the candidature of ex-banker Mateusz Morawiecki for prime minister".

Mazurek added that Szydlo had tendered her resignation to the PiS political committee.

Before his nomination, he had also been serving as deputy prime minister.

She is expected to stay on as a deputy prime minister in the PiS government, deputy foreign minister Jan Dziedziczak told the Polish PAP news agency.

Szydło said in a media interview on Wednesday that next year Poland's ruling conservatives planned to focus on policies to further improve the economy and ensure even faster growth to consolidate the country's "historically lowest unemployment, the best results in terms of economic growth in six years, and the best results in terms of public finances".

The government shuffle comes ahead of parliamentary votes on Friday on two controversial laws that would give the government far-reaching powers over the judicial system.

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